Steve Saint sustained a "paralyzing injury" yesterday morning while testing "an experimental wing mounted to a vehicle," according to an email update sent by his company, I-TEC, this afternoon.
The accident has left Saint, whom CT profiled for his efforts to invent a flying car for missionaries in 2010, with "no control of feet or hands"; however, "his mind is clear and he does have some motion and sensation in all four limbs," according to the I-TEC email. The injury may end his career as a test pilot.
I-TEC's Facebook page has more information on the accident and Saint's current health. "Steve was conducting a test on a small aluminum airfoil mounted on a rolling test stand when it became unmounted and struck Steve in the head causing cuts to his head and resulting in whiplash," said an update late this afternoon. "Currently, he has very limited movement capabilities in his arms and legs. Doctors suggest surgery in a few days to help relieve swelling around his spine."
Saint founded the Indigenous People's Technology and Education Center to build on the vision of his missionary-pilot father, Nate. In 1956, Nate and four other missionaries envisioned taking the gospel to a tribe in Ecuador. But soon after successfully contacting the tribe, all five men were speared to death. Their story—most famously narrated in the book Through Gates of Splendor—is perhaps the most chronicled missionary account of the past 100 years.
The complete I-TEC email is below:
Dear friends and supporters of I-TEC,
On June 12th at about 10:15 am Steve Saint was involved in an accident. Steve sustained a paralyzing injury while testing an experimental wing mounted to a vehicle. The vehicle was not a Maverick.
Right now, Steve has no control ...