72-year-old veteran loses prosthetic leg while skydiving

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John French, 72, lost his prosthetic leg skydiving. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) John French, 72, lost his prosthetic leg skydiving. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
The 72-year-old disabled veteran checked skydiving off his bucket list. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) The 72-year-old disabled veteran checked skydiving off his bucket list. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
His lifetime is coming to it's conclusion as he has terminal cancer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) His lifetime is coming to it's conclusion as he has terminal cancer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
French is living life at it's fullest as he see's the finish line. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) French is living life at it's fullest as he see's the finish line. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Well, this wasn’t exactly how John French pictured his Saturday free fall from the sky.

“I just looked down and seen it go into the clouds…bye bye, leg!” said French.

French is a 72-year-old disabled veteran fighting a terminal lung disease, so he made a bucket list to enjoy what time he has left and decided to sky dive this over Easter weekend…even with a prosthetic leg. But it didn't quite go as he planned.

“I’m scooting over and I noticed my prosthetic leg is doing this going off to the side and I’m like…hmph,” said French.

And then it was time for him and his instructor to jump at 13,000 feet in the air, but he didn't exactly have a leg up on the exit.

“We go, poof! I look down and my leg goes down, doing spirals like what the he**! I’m like oh great,” said French. “I said oh sh** there goes my leg boom boom boom boom.”

He originally wore the leg to be able to land on two feet, but that plan literally went out the door, so he improvised.

“I landed on my butt, scooted kind of boom boom boom,” said French about sliding across the ground.

Skydive Phoenix said they've never had that situation happen before but says the jump and landing ended safely. And French was only worried about one thing. “My wife’s going to kill me!”

They haven't found the prosthetic leg, so French is in the process of working with the VA to get a new one this month. But he said with the time he has left to live, he plans to keep laughing...and one other thing.

“Enjoy what time you’ve got, you know, get out and party! That’s what I do!” said French.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Briana WhitneyBriana Whitney joined CBS 5/3TV in February 2018, and is no stranger to the sunshine and heat!

Click to learn more about Briana.

Briana Whitney

She’s from Northern California, but prior to coming to Phoenix, she reported at KIII-TV in Corpus Christi, TX for three years.

During her time in South Texas, she reported on several national stories. Some of the most memorable were the 2015 Wimberley floods, reporting for eight hours off the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Harvey in August of 2017, and reporting from the church shooting in Sutherland Springs in November of 2017.

Her general assignment reporting won her two Associated Press awards, six EMMA awards, and one Emmy nomination for a half-hour special she wrote, produced and hosted on the issue of child pornography.

Briana graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and during college had seven different internships at several news stations.

When she isn’t chasing breaking news or working on a feature story, Briana loves checking out the best restaurants in the Valley, and hiking or rollerblading around town. Briana is very happy to have made Arizona home!

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