JJ Chalmers has described the “unreal” moment he realised that the pilot who flew him out from Tokyo following the Paralympics was the same man who flew him home when he was severely wounded in Afghanistan.
In a post shared to his Instagram account on Friday morning, the former royal marine and an Invictus Games medallist shared an aeroplane snap with the pilot, David Ellis.
The 34 year old wrote in the caption: “This is David Ellis, he just flew me out to the Tokyo for the #Paralympics.
“But, it’s not the first time I’ve been on one of his flights. Incredibly he flew me home, unconscious on a hospital plane, when I was Wounded in Afghanistan. Unreal!” he added.
JJ expressed his gratitude, adding: “Thank You, It was an honour to meet you, Sir.”
The former Strictly Come Dancing star also shared a snap of him bandaged up after being caught in a horrific bomb blast in Afghanistan a decade earlier.
He continued in the caption: “(For the record the 4th picture was taken in the hospital in Afghanistan when they prepared me to be flown home 10 years ago… it was obviously not taken on my flight to Japan, like the other, as my recent flight with @British_Airways was extremely pleasant and not just by comparison.)
JJ was in Afghanistan as a royal marine, and in 2011 found himself on foot patrol in Helmand province. It was here that an Improvised Explosive Device went off.
He previously told the Metro: “Every time you stepped out the front door of one of your checkpoints, you were just surrounded by these deadly indiscriminate weapons.”
“Unfortunately, one of my friends stepped on one of these devices, the blast went off underneath his feet, and all the rubbish that gets thrown off of these IEDs are buried in the ground, just came my way and it just pulverised my body.”
JJ was so injured that he was put into a medically-induced coma and flown back to the UK.
The star suffered multiple injuries, including a crushed eye socket, burst eardrums, broken neck, a destroyed elbow, and missing fingers.
JJ had to have over 30 operations and undergo intense rehabilitation including learning how to walk and dress himself again. His elbows and structure of his body had to be rebuilt while he was in a coma.
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