TAKE A PARACHUTE AND JUMP! Marie O’Sullivan from Killarney finally got the chance to jump from a plane for Recovery Haven Kerry.
By Michelle Crean
“I’d do it all again!” These were the first words from Marie O’Sullivan seconds after landing to the group after her much anticipated skydive for Recovery Haven ended.
After many false starts this year, with cancellations due to Storm Jorge followed by the lockdown, and just weeks ago heading to Co Offaly to be told last minute that the weather was too windy – Marie and her friend Lauren Fitzell finally took the plunge last week.
Although nerves came thick and fast as the plane ascended – Marie, a Slimming World Consultant in Killarney, says it’s the best experience ever.
“It was savage but the most frightening thing I’ve ever done,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.
“We got as far as suiting up with harnesses on. It was very windy and experienced solo jumpers were coming down and landing but more erratic that normal.
“They said wind was OK they can adjust to that but not when there’s bad gusts and so all jumps were cancelled. We rescheduled for the following Sunday and with hardly a cloud in the sky or a puff of wind we got to fly!”
Their harnesses were put on before getting on the plane and then in the air the instructor’s strapped them together.
“They were really funny and bit of jokers trying to frighten us but it was good craic and something to pass the time during the 15 minute climb to 13,000 feet. I was first out followed by other tandem jumpers and solo jumpers and Lauren was last so we never got to chat on the way up and we were too far apart. I had no nerves I felt great, excited even until that roller door went up alongside me and I saw the patch work quilt of fields below and was looking down on one or two clouds.”
Then reality hit, she explained.
“I thought to myself I’ve made a terrible mistake but I was already sliding towards the exit and my legs were dangling out. The first thing I felt was the intense cold of the air and the sight was unbelievably beautiful but all I could feel was sheer panic.
I turned my head to say something to Brian, my tandem partner, and all he said was no!”
Then, she could no longer feel the plane underneath her.
“We started head first aiming for the ground at a speed of 130mph. I can honestly say every cell in my body went into horror and shock what I thought I’d love most was now just insane. I suppose I forgot I was attached to someone all I could think of was the falling feeling and the speed no video captures how fast you’re falling. After 45 seconds the parachute is deployed and from there on it feels like your barely moving. It was magnificent we could see all bog around us and as far as Dublin.
We came down in about five minutes and within seconds we all had landed only feet away from each other safely, and of course the first words were I’d do it again! Now that I know what to expect I think I’d make the most of those exhilarating 45 seconds.
Lauren checked her fitness watch after and it showed her heart rate went up to 216 bpm! I’d highly recommend the Irish Parachute Club in Offaly, so friendly and reassuring and safety comes first one hundred percent of the time. We are delighted to have raised funds for Recovery Haven Kerry and are looking for the next thrill already!”