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LODI, Calif. — A California skydiver walked away with only minor injuries Sunday after his parachute failed and he hit the ground at 30 mph following an 8,000-foot fall.
Craig Stapleton, 51, went skydiving Sunday with a friend and attempted a flag-release stunt in which the parachutes land on the ground with a flag landing straight up on a lanyard, according to ABC News.
He jumped from about 8,000 feet and plummeted toward Earth. His speed was off from his partner, Katie Hanson, though. He said his foot flung up and he dragged his equipment through the riser group, causing the parachute to malfunction.
"I felt like nothing was going right here. I knew I was going to die," he said. "I thought, ‘If I live through this, I'll have months of rehab, hospitals … nothing fun again.' "
Stapleton went into a three-minute spin, during which time he attempted to deploy his reserve parachute. The parachute got stuck in his tangled primary chute, though.
I felt like nothing was going right here. I knew I was going to die.
He landed in the middle of a vineyard.
"I hurt quite a bit, and in my mind I thought, 'That's a really good sign. I'm really hurting. That's a good thing,' " he told KVUE. "And then I tried to get up."
He went to the hospital, where he was found to have only a dislocated shoulder and some bumps and bruises.
"I completely lucked out," he said. "God watches out for idiots and puppy dogs, and he just let me live and walk away."