Skydiver Survives 13,500ft Fall After Leg Got Tangled In Parachute
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A skydiver miraculously survived a 13,500ft fall after her leg got tangled up in her parachute. Watch her chart her lengthy rehabilitation here:
Jordan Hatmaker, from Virginia Beach, USA, did her first ever skydive in 2015 and immediately fell in love with the daredevil pursuit.
The 35-year-old subsequently decided to train for her licence, which would enable her to dive on her own.
But on 14 November last year, on her sixteenth ever jump, something went very badly wrong; indeed, she was lucky it wasn't her last ever jump.
After about ten seconds of freefall, she moved away from her coach and pulled the cord to release her parachute, but the pilot chute – the smaller one that comes out before the main canopy – was wrapped around her leg.
Her leg was then suspended in the air as she fell at 125mph, with nothing to slow her down, and as she desperately scrambled to try and free herself, her reserve chute was automatically released.
The jolt of the release catapulted the main canopy out its bag, and the two inflated parachutes flew away from each other to create a 'downplane', propelling her to the ground even faster.
"Everything happened really quickly," Jordan recalled.
"I didn't have any thoughts because I was spiralling so I didn't know what was going on, I was just in strategy mode."
She hit the ground 20 seconds after pulling her release cord, and remarkably remained conscious - though she maybe wishes she hadn't.
"First I tried to push myself off the ground, and when I couldn't move anything my first thought was I was paralysed and I was yelling that out," she said.
"I've never heard sounds like those come out of my body. I screamed bloodcurdling screams."
She continued: "I hit with my left leg first and then I bounced off of my butt and faceplanted, and that's how I broke my back.
"There was just extreme burning through my lower back and down my legs."
An air ambulance rushed her to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where she was told she had broken most of her lower back, her tibia and ankle, as well as sustaining a spinal cord injury.
Jordan - who works in sales for a contractor - had to spend the best part of a month in hospital, where doctors decompressed her spinal cord, before performing spinal fusion surgery and removing bone fragments. Jordan also had surgery to fix her broken tibia and ankle.
Despite all of this, she remained grateful and positive.
"I was very thankful to be alive, that was my thought I had most often," she recollected.
"I had a lot of hope in that I would walk again, even though I couldn't lift my legs or move them back and forth.
"I had a lot of hope that I would do everything I wanted to do again."
Jordan had a two-week hiking trip to Mount Everest planned for just three days after her ill-fated skydive, and despite the fact she still suffers from aspects of her spinal cord injury - with symptoms such as numbness, nerve pain and pelvic floor dysfunction - she has now set her sights on tackling it in November.
She said: "I don't think that you should give up things that you love just because an obstacle was put in your way, life is too short and you should do what makes you happy.
"I really hope to send a message of trying to find the silver lining in whatever situation you're in.
"You never know how strong you are until you have to be, don't underestimate yourself."
As for her hopes of skydiving once again, she added: "Don't tell my family! We'll see what happens when I get to the plane door!"