Parachute crash victim shares his story

File - 2010 St. Patrick's Day event (Melia Morgan)

March 17, 2010 9:06:39 PM PDT
The luck of the Irish was with a parachutist at Saturday's Saint Patrick's Day parade in Raleigh.It was definitely not how David Lillico wanted to make a name for himself.

"It's a heck of a way to make the news," he said.

Lillico says it was the fifth year he parachuted with an American flag onto the street for Raleigh's St. Patrick's Day parade.

He says it was bit windy when he jumped from about 2,500 feet in the air and it got worse the closer he got to the ground. Lillico said a last second gust of wind blew him off course.

"I didn't really think I was in trouble," Lillico said. "I just kept trying to turn my brakes on the left side to bring it over more and it just kept pushing me over to the right side and pushed me into the trees."

Lillico wasn't hurt. He hung about 8-10 feet from the ground as firefighters helped him get his canopy untangled.

Lillico, a former Air Force combat controller and Green Beret parachute team member, says after more than 5,000 parachute jumps, this by far wasn't his worst landing.

In 1996 in Warsaw, North Carolina, "I fractured my hip in three places that was a freak accident."

Lillico says he is a little amazed at all the attention he's gotten. Several different videos are posted on YouTube and of course he made the news.

He says this was just one of the things that happens and the 66-year-old plans to keep on jumping.

"It's just the excitement I guess of doing it," Lillico said. "It's never the same."

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