As Ivan McGuire boarded the small airplane with his video camera, the experienced skydiver didn’t know this would be his final ever flight.
Ivan worked as a cameraman filming nervous student parachuters taking their first-ever jump. He’d made hundreds of these flights, and any fear of leaping out of a plane from a height of three kilometres had left Ivan long ago.
On April 5th, 1988 Ivan McGuire jumped from a plane with his heavy VHS recording deck strapped to his back and the camera mounted to his helmet. Ivan had already completed two of these filming jumps that day, so he was a little fatigued – which may account for his soon-to-be-discovered forgetfulness.
On this final jump for the day Ivan calmly filmed the student strapped to his instructor as they both went through their free-fall and finally opened their combined parachute. Ivan then reached around to open his parachute…. and discovered that he’d forgotten to put one on.
The surviving video footage then goes from relaxed to frenzied.
How had Ivan forgotten to put on a parachute? Maybe it was simply tiredness, or perhaps he’d mistaken the video pack on his back as his usual parachute. Imagine what might have gone through the experienced skydiver’s mind as he was free-falling to Earth from ten thousand feet with nothing to save him. The salvaged footage recorded from his helmet shows Ivan going from matter-of-fact calmness to understandable panic.
It seems Ivan McGuire – on the day of his death – had simply gone-through-the-motions of his normal daily routines, without ensuring he had one very important thing with him. His parachute!
As I reflect on this tragic story – can you forgive me as a minister of religion for likening it to a spiritual cautionary tale? Yes, we do need to live each day as if it might be our last. BUT… we also need to be double-checking the faith we have in a loving Creator as our ‘saving parachute’.
For those reading this story who have already recognised God in their life – the Bible says: “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (check out Joshua 1:9). This biblical promise is a daily ‘parachute of faith’ that allows each of us to be saved whenever we fall.
Click here to view Ivan McGuire’s helmet video of his final jump
About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and lives on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.
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Want to read more inspirational stories of faith from this “Reverential Ramblings” series? Click here to read the strange story of how one orchestra member saved his colleagues from the wild temper tantrums of their world-famous conductor