Emma Carey was lying on her belly on a stretch of strange Switzerland land, wrestling, rolling, numb.
She had fallen from the sky.
Her skydiving instructor, the one who was meant to call the shots, the one who was meant to slow them down, the one who was meant to know, was lying on top of her, unconscious after being strangled by rope mid-air, pressing her already battered and broken body further into the ground.
Her mind, busied with the shock of landing alive after being sure of her death just seconds before, moved to getting the instructor off her. She rolled, he fell. He would be okay, but they wouldn’t know that then.
In that moment, 20-year-old Emma Carey from Canberra was overwhelmed by the intense complexity of being able to feel too much and, in other parts, not being able to feel anything at all.
"When I landed on the ground, I didn't realise the pain at first. I landed on my belly, and tried to roll over to get him off because he was still unconscious. But it was when I tried to roll that I couldn't move anything from the waist down.
"When the pain eventually came, it was so intense. I have never felt pain like that in my whole life," Carey tells Mamamia from her new home in Burleigh Heads.
It was the 9th of June 2013. Emma, just five days into a three-month-trip around Europe, was buzzing with the energy of a 20-year-old seeing the world, and an infinite stretch of independence, for the first time.
"It was the first time I had ever skydived, but I had always wanted to do it. The funny thing was I only ever wanted to do it exactly where I did it in this place in Switzerland. I have no idea why I had my heart so set on it," she says.