Jumper fully recovers after parachute fails, plunges almost 500 feet into river

(KTVI)– “Are you amazed that you can walk?”  Asks Patrick Clark.

“No. I always knew I’d get back to full recovery,” says Tim Sumpter who survived a failed parachute jump.  “I just, I suppose I am a little amazed that it happened this quickly in just two months.”

That’s because two months ago, this was Tim Sumpter, recovering in a hospital bed in Boise, Idaho.

“I broke both shoulders and dislocated both arms,” says Sumpter.  “I broke L1 through L5 lower back.  I crushed my sternum, broke my ribs, shattered my tailbone.”

Not to mention a pelvis that broke in half.

Four months ago Sumpter was making a routine base jump, like the 850 he had done before.

“I noticed that there wasn’t any extraction of my canopy so I started looking up and noticed that I had the bridle right underneath my arm,” says Sumpter.  “That’s the first time in 22 years I’ve ever had that problem. First and only time.”

It was a six second fall, that’s Sumpter on the left.

“I impacted feet first on my left side in four and a half feet of water going 100 miles per hour,” says Sumpter.  “So I didn’t know I was going to impact until I impacted.  It was one of those events that happened in the blink of an eye.”

Everything from his neck to his waist was crushed.

He went through 16 liters of blood and was in a coma for 17 days.

His employer, Jet Aviation medevac`d him home to St. Louis for recovery.

“I believe I’m here because the Lord,” says Sumpter.  “I think I made a deal with the Lord at that time and the prayers of my family and people I’ve never known as well as Jet Aviation the company I work for.”

For now there`s a lot of physical therapy, but this former parachutist expects a full recovery in six months.

“I’ve been given a second chance,” says Sumpter.  “I’m going to use that for my son and wife and have a better life.  I figure it’s like a football game.  I’ve been through the first two quarters, and now we have half time.  So now I’m looking for a good second half.  I’ve been called miracle and superman, but it’s hard to live up to the hype.  I just think fortunate, that’s what I think I`m fortunate.  Fortunate to be alive.”