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Watch skydiver survive 8,000-foot plummet after parachutes fail

March 15, 2013|By Houston Mitchell

Skydiver Craig Stapleton, 51, is lucky to be alive after his parachutes failed during a jump on Sunday.

Stapleton jumped from 8,000 feet, and then his primary and backup parachutes failed.

"I thought, 'God hates me,'" Stapleton told "I felt like nothing was going right here. I knew I was going to die. I thought, 'If I live through this, I'll have months of rehab.' "

Only part of Stapleton's main chute deployed, so he went to his backup. That got tangled in the main chute. The two chutes, even partially deployed, were able to slow his descent to 30 mph, which is the speed he was at when he slammed into a grape orchard.

"Time slows down," he said. "You can take time and do things. I could see I was running out of time. I got through 1,700 feet and realized my situation hadn't improved."

The ground the grapes were growing in had recently been mulched, making it much softer than normal.

"I remember being relieved because I was still alive," he said. "It didn't kill me instantly, I remember being really happy I was in the dirt. I rolled onto my back - it knocked the wind out of me - to take a few seconds to collect myself. I could hear my teammates coming."

His injuries: A dislocated shoulder and a few bruises.

And get this: Stapleton says he can't wait to skydive again.


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