UC DAVIS (CBS13) — A skydiver’s decision that almost cost him his life is expected to make a full recovery, thanks a new surgery that helped save his life.

Iwan Van Der Schoor was performing in a July 4 show at Lake of the Pines over the weekend when he hit the lake hard during his landing and was severely injured.

He remembered the weekend skydive he’d like to forget from a hospital bed on Monday.

“At that point there was nothing you can do because you’re falling through the water,” he said. “It’s the going big part is what got me in trouble.”

Everything was going according to plan until he tried a to maneuver a special landing.

“I just misjudged my speed so I popped up too early and was carrying way too much speed when I released the parachute,” he said.

He hit the water chest first.

“The second I hit the water I knew I knew it was bad,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe.”

He had a severe blunt injury to his aorta and was rushed to Sutter Roseville Hospital. Those doctors found broken ribs and had him flown to UC Davis Medical Center to treat the aorta injury.

UC Davis vascular surgeon Dr. David Dawson says Van Der Schoor was closed to death than life when he arrived.

Instead of open-heart surgery, Dawson opted for a life-saving procedure.

“Now we can do a minimally invasive approach where we put a stent graft into the blood vessel to provide a seal of support for the area of injury and we can do that all through a small incision in the groin,” he said.

The stent procedure has been around since 2012, but it’s given patients a chance that wasn’t possible in the past.

“People who have this type of injury would be dead within 24 hours,” Dawson said.

Van Der Schoor should return to normal life in about six weeks, doctor say. The skydiver recognizes the mistake he made and the life-saving gift he’s been given.

“Thinking about what might be cool versus I’m a dad and we have a second baby on the way, so I need to grow up,” he said.

He credits the safety team on the water and the team in the hospital for saving his life. He says he’s not sure if or when he’ll go skydiving again.


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