David, 32, överlevde fallskärmsolyckan som förändrade hans liv

Title: David’s Journey: From Near Death Experience to a New Outlook on Life


Zurich – On a leafy side street not far from Lake Zurich, a balcony stands out from a typical style house. Bob Dylan’s raspy voice can be heard from the sparsely furnished apartment.

”I moved in here the day before I went to Barcelona,” says David, 32, from Karlstad. ”I have slept here for a maximum of three nights since the accident.”

In the living room with an adjoining kitchen, David’s two friends, Sheila and Luciano, sit. Empty sushi boxes on the dining table indicate they just finished dinner.

The atmosphere between friends is warm. They have known each other for a long time. All three work in the restaurant industry, and when asked about what sets David’s cooking apart, praises rain down.

”He is the best. His way of experimenting with flavors is fantastic,” says Sheila.

Food has always been a central part of David’s life. From his earliest memory of grilled perch with butter at his grandfather’s summer cottage to growing his own produce at his parents’ home in the forests of Värmland. It led him to the tough internship in New York with 16-hour workdays and finally to finding his home as a co-owner and head chef at one of Zurich’s most prestigious restaurants.

For David, it is truly a dream job, viewing each plate as a work of art. He is not suited for sitting in an office all day.

No, restlessness and the desire to experience new things have always been there. The desire for the mountains, but also the opportunity to engage in extreme sports led him to Zurich, which he has called home for the past eleven years.

”I have always been very interested in cycling, snowboarding, climbing, surfing, and parachuting. Riding a motorcycle in the mountains is my little escape,” he says.

”I have strong ADHD. But these thrills give me enough dopamine to feel calm. I want to live as much as possible, as fast as possible, and I constantly try to make sure I have time to do what I want.”

This drive took him and a few friends to Barcelona at the beginning of May. There they planned to fulfill their dream of obtaining a skydiving certificate.

”We had finally managed to arrange a weekend when everyone could participate. We were really looking forward to it.”

The sunny day in May would change everything. But David had no idea when he boarded the small red propeller plane on the way to 3,650 meters.

”It was a beautiful day. We had jumped in the morning, but around lunchtime, the wind picked up and became more turbulent, so we decided it would be our last jump. My jump of a lifetime, as it turned out.”

At a speed of 250 kilometers per hour, David and his friends threw themselves out. ”I was so excited and thought it was absolutely fantastic. Seconds before, we said to each other, as we usually do before jumping, ’closer to God, but not close enough,’ and then we jumped.”

Initially, everything went according to plan. The parachute opened perfectly, according to David.

”It was so beautiful. I truly felt as free as a bird. But towards the end, I had the wind against me and problems with the parachute. I realized that landing at the planned spot would be difficult, so I made the decision to land in another place that seemed better. In front of me, I saw a large field surrounded by some woods and a river. I didn’t have many other options and thought it looked good. But in hindsight, I can think it was a really stupid thing to do.”

With too little time left, a high-voltage power line came into view.

”At first, I didn’t see it, but after a few seconds, I realized there was no place to land beside it. I assessed that I had enough margin to fly over it. It’s the worst decision you can make, but in stressful situations like that, you sometimes make bad decisions,” says David. Then everything went black.

”I only remember feeling that I could handle it and shouting ’wihoo.'”

When David collided with the power line, an explosion occurred. He crashed ten meters into the ground. There he lay, far from the intended landing site.

Above him, a burning parachute canopy. Time was ticking, and it was against him.

Friends and family have become vital to David. ”Without them, I wouldn’t be alive today.”

But there are also others who made the difference between David’s life and death. When he crashed into the power line, a hiker was not far away. He saw a burning David fall to his death, with the parachute over him.

”The surroundings there are not particularly beautiful, and there are no houses. But on that day, in that second, there was a person there looking in my direction.” The hiker rushed to David and called for rescue personnel.

It would turn out that luck was on David’s side again. At the moment of the accident, the local rescue services were conducting an exercise nearby.

”They had an ambulance helicopter that arrived very quickly. If I had been alone, I wouldn’t have survived. I would have disappeared within a few minutes.”

While waiting for the helicopter, the hiker tried to keep David alive.

”He sat and talked to me, trying to keep me present. I remember that I had already started dreaming and was in a wonderful place. It felt like I was between two worlds, but something was trying to keep me here.”

David was flown to Barcelona University Hospital, where he was in a coma for three weeks.

”70 percent of my body had third-degree burns. But thanks to all the races held in Barcelona, they have developed one of the world’s leading hospitals for burns.”

During his time in a coma, David suffered from septic shock, which forced doctors to amputate his hands.

”I was very confused during the first period after waking up. But despite that, I always had a feeling that I would get better.”

David underwent several surgeries during the following weeks. All the while, his life hung in the balance.

Title: David’s Journey: From Near Death Experience to a New Outlook on Life