Frenchman Becomes World’s First Disabled Man to Skydive Onto Mount Everest
55-year-old Marc Kopp from France became the world's first disabled man to skydive onto Mount Everest. Kopp, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), reportedly jumped from an aircraft that was 32,000 feet high and landed safely onto Mount Everest. After the jump, Kopp was brought into the hospital in Kathmandu for precautionary measures where he was instructed to rest.
"I feel very happy. I am exhausted but very happy," Kopp stated to Agence France-Press (APR) reported by NPR. "I hope my action will inspire others living with this illness. I hope many more will follow in my footsteps."
Kopp, who resides in Longwy, which is northeast of Paris, has lived with MS for over a decade. MS is an inflammatory disease that affects the communication between the brain and the spinal cord. During episodes, MS can cause muscles to weaken and lesions to develop in the central nervous system. In the worst-case scenario, MS can cause people to lose their ability to walk or talk.
"There were many times in the last few days when I thought I wouldn't be able to realized my dream," Kopp said.
The hardest part of the entire jump was the preparation, which Kopp said was quite painful. In order to get to the airstrip for the jump, Kopp had to go through the Himalayas while riding a horse. Unlike his usual wheelchair, riding the horse placed a lot of pressure on his spine, which caused a lot pain. However, Kopp was strong and got through the ordeal and successfully skydived from the helicopter. He jumped with his friend and champion skydiver, Mario Gervasi this past weekend.
Kopp had raised $35,885 for this trip with the help of his friends. He runs a support group for people afflicted with MS.