Saturday's incident

Please tell what happened and how it might have been avoided. Names should be ommitted. This forum should help others learn from mistakes that caused or nearly caused a mishap.
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Vrezh
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:52 pm

Saturday's incident

Post by Vrezh » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:39 pm

Dear friends,
On Saturday, March 13 I had a heart attack while in the air.
Heart attacks don’t happen in an instant, the symptoms start building up,
and gradually take over.
I was near the Towers, just climbing out after a long straggle, soon joined by John.
The moment I knew what’s happening, I went for landing.
Coming down turned into a challenge, as all of a sudden the whole area over the canyon
burst in lifty air.
I put it down as safely as I could.
Dave happened to be filming right there, so I gestured him to help me, as I was
already running out of power.
I remember getting out of the harness, taking some Nitro pills,
guys rushing to me, and from there it’s a blur.
This time around it was very different, there was an enormous pain,
absolutely lights out.
Then, I know, guys in the LZ carried me to the table, had all ready before the ambulance came.

The other thing that happens when having a heart attack is when finally the cardio team
reaches the blockage in the artery and unclogs it. It feels like a ruptured dam, all the pain, all the
suffering are gone in an instant.
And that’s when I became aware of things, I saw my heart on giant screens, felt a catheter moving trough my wrist, when they were placing a stent, heard their conversations.

So I got lucky again. Didn’t take too long from the beginning to end, thanks to you, my friends,
therefore, my heart muscle didn’t get damaged. The doctor said the heart is in good shape, will recover quickly.
I am home now, feel good, resting and recovering.

First of all, I want to THANK YOU ALL, who were there for me. You did your best by
promptly mobilizing, taking first steps and handing me over to med professionals.
That is what saved my life!
And then you took care of my gear afterwards.
I don’t mention names, because I am afraid, I might miss someone.
I will thank you all personally.

My HG future is not clear at this point.
Before I returned to the sport after my previous heart attack, I worked really hard
to insure the safety. Years of physical conditioning, regular checkups, doctors’ approval and encouragements to go back to my favorite activities.
Never mind the 15 years of experience, I took it easy again, started out with a falcon on a training hill, and gradually shook the rust off of my wings.
I passed my last heart stress test in December. Results were excellent.
My old stents are clear and wide open.
Didn’t have any warning signs or slightest symptoms, not the day it happened, nor before that.
Yet it happened.
The doctor had some ideas, like dislodged old buildup in the artery, but nobody knows for sure.

So that’s where I am now.
I will get back on my feet soon. As far as flying goes, it’s complicated.
Time will show.
All the best, fly safe.
Last edited by Vrezh on Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gregangsten
Posts: 492
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 11:22 am
Location: Westchester

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by gregangsten » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:55 pm

Great to hear, Vrezh! Sounds like there is not much long term damage, if any? Glad to hear you are home. Good luck with it.

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stebbins
Posts: 638
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:02 am
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by stebbins » Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:37 pm

I'm glad you are OK, Vrezh!. Good luck on figuring out what's going on so you might be back in the air. If you cannot, then I wish you the best after your flying career. I'm rooting for you!
Fly High; Fly Far; Fly Safe -- George

suesen
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:02 pm

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by suesen » Thu Mar 18, 2021 6:02 pm

I am so happy to hear you are ok Vrezh!!! I was shocked to hear what had happened. So sorry you had to go through that. You an an amazing and fun pilot and it is truly remarkable that you got yourself down safely!! Wishing you a speedy recovery and really hope to see you back in the LZ and back in action in the air :)
Sue

Klkader
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:36 pm

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by Klkader » Thu Mar 18, 2021 7:22 pm

Glad to hear you're ok Vrezh,,,get healthy and get back out there.

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Bob Kuczewski
Posts: 624
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:39 am
Location: San Diego
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Re: Saturday's incident

Post by Bob Kuczewski » Fri Mar 19, 2021 6:44 am

Thanks very much for sharing that experience, and I'm glad there's no permanent damage.

Great job by the SHGA in handling the incident!!!
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at ushawks.org
View my rating at: USHGRS

jcflies
Posts: 646
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:32 am

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by jcflies » Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:53 am

I am so glad that you are well and recovering. I am also very glad that you weren't in the middle of a strenuous hike through a canyon when it happened!
janyce

"You HAVE to make it..."

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BudRob
Posts: 359
Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 6:40 pm

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by BudRob » Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:02 am

Yes those who helped out did a good job of getting help fast and keeping Vrezh stable until professional help arrived. However he would have been in better shape when they arrived if we had medical oxygen (or any oxygen) to give him. We don't have any on site but we will very soon.

We now have a professional (and portable) First Aid kit (on order from Amazon) that contains oxygen and it should arrive within a few days. There are many people in our club who are trained in emergency first aid who know to use oxygen and most of the other stuff in this kit. Administering medical oxygen via a mask or nasal canula is very easy to do and I will show anyone who wants to be trained how to use it.

Brad Hall
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:29 pm
Location: Windsor, Ca

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by Brad Hall » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:57 pm

Vrezh, so glad to hear you made it through the entire ordeal. I truly hope you are able to fly again. I survived a similar heart attack, though no where near as dramatic as yours. I took a full year to regain my strength enough to be comfortable and competent in the air. You will know when and if you are ready. Follow your heart my friend.

jimshaw
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2006 7:06 am

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by jimshaw » Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:06 pm

Damn Vrech, what a helluva flight. You won’t be forgetting this one any time soon!

And although you are expert at landings, sounds as if this one might be way up there considering the challenging conditions, to say the least...

After your mandatory vacation, I will be routing to see you in the air again. But do you mind seeing to it your next flight is a little less dramatic?

Until that day, take care my friend.

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chadness
Posts: 188
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:19 am
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by chadness » Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:46 pm

H Vrezh, I am so glad to hear you were able to get safely to the ground and our flying family was able to help so effectively with the emergency. Now in the aftermath, I can't imagine the emotions you are going through - fear? frustration? hopefulness? worry? determination? In any case, kudos for one of the greatest landings ever and look forward to seeing you at Sylmar or anywhere. -Chad

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Vrezh
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:52 pm

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by Vrezh » Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:32 pm

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your support and kind words, I truly appreciate it.

Today my flying future was cleared off of uncertainty, I am very happy,
I can return to the skies with you.
Even though I was almost dead when I got to the hospital, luckily, my heart survived. Aggressive
treatment, strict diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle made an amazing recovery in short 4 months.
Today’s checkup along with multiple lab tests and analysis made my cardiologist
very happy. My heart is fully recovered and arteries are clean, the danger is over, I feel better every day.
I’ll keep doing everything to keep it like that and get better.

See you soon in the air (provided, an ambulance is standing by in the LZ) :o (I kid, I kid) :D

A celebratory BBQ in the LZ is in order,
Cheers!

AlC
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:02 am

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by AlC » Thu Jun 24, 2021 6:07 am

Celebrate for sure!

Excellent news Vrezh!

Alan

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arthur
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:18 pm

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by arthur » Fri Jun 25, 2021 8:12 am

Awesome news Vrezh! Looking forward to flying with you again.

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stebbins
Posts: 638
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:02 am
Location: Palmdale, CA

Re: Saturday's incident

Post by stebbins » Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:29 am

I am very happy for you, my friend. For surviving. For persisting. For being careful while persisting. Well done. I hope to see you in the skies!
Fly High; Fly Far; Fly Safe -- George

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