Thrill seeker shares story of survival after crash

Southwest Michigan

PAW PAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A paramotor pilot is sharing his story of survival after being critically injured during a crash-landing in February. 

News 8 first reported the crash on Valentine’s Day when Doug Martin went plummeting into Lake Ackley after his motorized aircraft malfunctioned while flying near Paw Paw.  

Prior to the crash, Martin had logged hundreds of hours in the air without any incident and is still unable to pinpoint exactly what went wrong leading up to the crash. 

Martin doesn’t remember much, but watching the video helps jog his memory as he was livestreaming his flight on Facebook when the crash happened.  

“There’s no doubt that your heart just drops when I watch that video,” Martin said. “I can actually tell what I’m doing in the video. I have my hands up and I can see it starting to go into a dive.” 

Martin fell 250 feet, crashing feet first into an iced-over Ackley Lake, going about 50 miles per hour. 

“I punched through (the ice) and actually hit the ground and then got stuck in between the ice … trapped underwater,” Martin said.  

A nearby stranger was the first to his rescue.  

“I had an angel named Brad who literally saw me starting to spin and he had enough fortitude to follow up to the lake and he’s the one who actually got my head above water,” Martin said. 

Police confirm that the good Samaritan held Martin’s head above water until paramedics arrived on scene.  

Martin spent the next few days in a medically induced coma as doctors tended to his injuries spanning head to toe, from a broken skull to two shattered heels.  

“There is no reason in the world with as hard as I hit that ice … I should be gone,” Martin said. “For some reason one really bad incident had a whole bunch of good incidents that followed.” 

Doug Martin recovering after a motorized aircraft crash. (Courtesy)

Martin credits his survival to his rescuer, first responders and his family. 

On the brink of his 50th birthday, Martin said he still has a lot more life to live, seeing the crash as a speed bump and a reminder to live out his next adventures with slightly more caution. 

“I have a lot of things left to do in life and I’m going to go back to 100 percent and start doing those things again,” he said.  

A GoFundMe fundraiser was created for Martin to help assist with his medical costs.  

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