The sister of Amy Parker, an experienced paraglider and Las Vegas tattoo artist, said it was a “miracle” that Parker survived a paragliding crash near Jean last weekend.
Parker was paragliding Saturday evening near the Jean dry lake beds, about 30 miles south of Las Vegas, when she was severely injured during a “hard landing,” the Metropolitan Police Department said. On Tuesday, Ivy Pruss, 34, said her sister fell 40 to 60 feet after a possible equipment failure, but doctors expect the 36-year-old to make a full recovery.
Parker has already gone through surgery on her spine and was in surgery on Tuesday afternoon for a broken hip and pelvis, Pruss said. She’s also expected to have surgery on at least one ankle, after both were broken during the fall, and she suffered a broken leg and internal bleeding.
“It’s a miracle she survived, and it’s mostly all skeletal injuries,” Pruss said, adding she’s “never heard of someone with that many injuries.”
Pruss said she believes her sister’s fall was a “freak accident” that happened shortly after takeoff. Parker hit the side of a steep, rocky hill, resulting in one of the glider’s wings collapsing. Pruss said emergency equipment failed when Parker crashed.
“We don’t know why that happened because she’s a licensed paraglider,” Pruss said.
Pruss set up a GoFundMe page for her sister to offset medical bills, which had raised about $8,700 as of Tuesday night. The fundraiser described Parker as a “beloved tattoo artist and passionate member of the climbing and paragliding communities in Las Vegas.”
Pruss said recovery will be especially hard for Parker because she recently gave birth to her daughter, Ava.
“She still has bills from giving birth three months ago,” Pruss said. “We don’t know yet what medical bills will be covered (by insurance.)”
Parker was with her husband and friends when the crash happened, and they alerted emergency services. She was flown to University Medical Center, where she remained Tuesday.
Pruss said her sister has always been a fan of outdoor sports and is an experienced rock climber. Pruss went through multiple tests to become a certified paraglider, and has traveled as far as Austria to paraglide.
Parker also documented her outdoor adventures through an Instagram account for her dog, a husky named Luna, Pruss said.
“She’s just one of the strongest people I know, and really gets a lot of mental and emotional boosts from physical and emotional challenges,” Pruss said.
Pruss said her sister doesn’t appear to have any brain injuries from the crash, and has been able to talk to her family. She hopes Parker will make a full recovery and return to her passions of tattooing and outdoor sports, Pruss said.
“Personally, every morning I wake up and think I had a terrible nightmare,” she said. “We’re trying to be hopeful and focus on the fact that she can actually recover from this.”