It sounds dramatic, but it was effective: As Errol Doebler, founder and CEO of Leader 193, spoke to the roughly 25 people who circled him Saturday morning at the Beyul Retreat in Meredith, he recounted what was going through his mind as he fell 30 feet to what he was sure at the time would be his death.
At the time, he’d been a Navy SEAL platoon commander, and he and his team were rehearsing a ship-takedown exercise on waters that the commanding officer had initially deemed too dangerous. Doebler was climbing a 30-foot ladder, just about to board the ship — when the ladder disintegrated beneath him.
“I’ll give you what goes through your mind when you’re sure you’re going to die,” he said. “The first thing, weirdly, that goes through my mind is, ‘You’re in charge. You are the officer; you’re the leader — go out like a leader.’”
But he didn’t die. Miraculously, rather than falling between the two boats below and getting sucked underwater, he landed in the one clear area of a boat. While he broke his arm — and had to make his own tourniquet out of a bandage — he survived the fall.