Missionary Pilot Steve Saint Suffers Paralyzing Injury
Steve Saint and I-Tec's Maverick flying car.
June 20, 2012 - Steve Saint, who founded I-Tec (the Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center) in Dunnellon, Florida, was seriously injured during the morning of June 12 while conducting an aerodynamic test on a small aluminum airfoil mounted on a rolling test stand, according to I-Tec. The accident left Saint with paralysis to his limbs with very limited movement, although I-Tec reports slight improvement each day. Saint underwent surgery on Tuesday, June 19, to relieve spinal pressure, and the Saint Family posted the following update on I-Tec's Facebook page:
Steve came through his surgery very well. One of the biggest things for him is that he does not require his neck brace. He was able to stand up on his feet for about a minute this morning (Wednesday, June 20) with help. This is just the start of the long road ahead, but we know that he is a fighter and hard worker. By the beginning of next week, he should be moved into an in-patient rehab facility to begin intensive physical therapy.
I-Tec created and markets the Maverick flying car, a low-speed powered parachute/road vehicle intended for use "by people of high need and low means in frontier areas," according to I-Tec. Saint drove a Maverick from Florida to AirVenture Oshkosh in 2010, and an EAA-produced video about the vehicle during its time here has generated more than 3 million views.
Troy Townsend, I-Tec COO, told Ocala.com that the airfoil became unmounted and struck Steve in the head, resulting in partial paralysis below the neck. The wing that struck Saint is not a part of the Maverick project, he said.
"We are just praying that Steve will recover from his injuries," Townsend said. EAA's thoughts and prayers are with Steve and his family at this difficult time.