Advertisement

Paralympian jumps from plane while strapped to wheelchair during skydiving championships in Wasaga Beach

Click to play video 'Paralympian jumps from plane while in wheelchair during skydiving championships in Wasaga Beach' Paralympian jumps from plane while in wheelchair during skydiving championships in Wasaga Beach
ABOVE: Lonnie Bissonnette has used a wheelchair since 2004 following a tragic accident while base jumping in the United States. Now, he can add jumping from a plane in his wheelchair to the list of things he's crossed off his bucket list.

There’s one word Paralympian Lonnie Bissonnette doesn’t want to hear. It will literally make him push back as hard as he can to prove someone wrong.

That word is “no.”

“I had broken my neck, my back, shattered my femur, my ribs and I said to (the doctor), ‘How long do you think it will before I can jump again?'” Bissonnette said.

The doctor instead told Bissonnette that he would not be able to jump again.

READ MORE: Skydiving seniors prove age is just a number

In 2004, Bissonnette was involved in a tragic accident in Idaho that’s left him in a wheelchair ever since. He trying to set a Canadian record in base jumping when his foot got caught in his chute and he went down, hitting the water at about 130 km/, suffering a spinal chord injury.

Story continues below advertisement

But that didn’t stop him.

“I just looked at her and said, ‘I’m sorry you don’t know who you’re talking too and I will jump again,'” Bissonnette said.

“It was about 10-and a half months after the accident that I made my first parachute jump back.”

“I was so determined that I was going to get back in the air.”

And he did this Saturday, when he took part in the 2019 Skydiving National Championships in Wasaga Beach, taking his skydiving experience one step further — by strapping himself into his wheelchair.

Story continues below advertisement

He and his team manufactured a chute for the chair and created safety straps in case they ran into trouble.

“It’s inspirational for anybody really, it’s been fantastic,” said Gareth Parry, who has been jumping with Bissonnette since 1990.

READ MORE: Skydiving proposal in Vancouver

“We’ve not only done a lot of skydives together, we’ve probably jumped around the world together — in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Europe — it’s fun and every time it’s a little different.”

A born athlete, Bissonnette can be found in the winter months training and competing for Canada on the Paralympic bobsled team. On off days, he helps to guide others dealing with similar injuries.

Bissonnette was a crowd favorite as he landed his chair with such ease on Saturday.

WATCH (March 18, 2019): ‘Skiing is my freedom:’ Calgary Paralympian credits CADS for kick-starting her career

Click to play video '‘Skiing is my freedom:’ Calgary Paralympian credits CADS for kick-starting her career' ‘Skiing is my freedom:’ Calgary Paralympian credits CADS for kick-starting her career
‘Skiing is my freedom:’ Calgary Paralympian credits CADS for kick-starting her career