A charity event on a Florida beach went off the rails on Saturday when a skydiver dressed like Santa Claus lost control of his parachute, slammed into a tree, and broke his leg during a crash landing, Bay News 9 reports.
A group of locals had flocked to Gulfport Beach for an Operation Santa charity volleyball tournament, hosted by the Tampa Bay Beach Bums. Soaring above them, George Krokus—an avid skydiver—was preparing to leap out of a plane with a parachute strapped to his back to greet them, outfitted in full-on Santa regalia. He jumped from the aircraft and pulled his 'chute—but as he got closer to the ground, he couldn't manage to slow himself down. In a terrifying instant, Christmas got dark as all hell.
Krokus slammed into a pole, careened into a tree, and tumbled through the air before falling onto the sand, breaking his leg—all to a completely horrified audience of onlookers, some of whom wound up capturing the whole thing on their phones. He was rushed to the hospital, and has since undergone surgery on his broken tibia and fibula. Now, he's hoping to raise some money for his medical bills on GoFundMe.
Dominic Nelson, who helped organize the event, told FOX 13 Krokus—a buddy of his—is "in good spirits" after the spill, and expects to make a full recovery. According to Bay News 9, he wasn't the only one beat up by the fall: The Elf on the Shelf toy Krokus was delivering to a local nine-year-old girl suffered some damage to its leg, too. Krokus ended up taking Kristoff the elf along with him to the local hospital to recoup.
In a note Kristoff "wrote" the girl—who ostensibly hasn't learned this whole Santa thing is a total con—the elf briefed her on his recovery, along with exactly what went down on Saturday.
"As we were about to land this big tree jumped right out in front of us," the note reads, according to Bay News 9. "Don’t worry though… now G [Krokus] and I are resting in this hotel that they keep calling a 'hospital!' G has reservations for a few more days, going to hang out with him so he doesn’t feel lonely."
No one on the beach outside of Krokus was injured, at least not physically. It's still too early to calculate the psychological toll—his spill might've left the kids who witnessed it that much more terrified of Santa Claus.
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