Last November, a Virginia skydiver miraculously survived a fall of 13,500 feet over Suffolk when her parachute became tangled around her leg. Jordan Hatmaker, 35, hit the ground at 125 mph.
Hatmaker is no novice when it comes to the extreme sport. 10 seconds into her fall, she moved away from her instructor and pulled the cord to release the pilot chute. This smaller parachute would then trigger the larger chute, but unfortunately, this wasn’t how it happened for Hatmaker. Once she deployed the pilot chute, it wrapped around her leg. She spent the rest of her 20-second fall desperately trying to free herself to no avail.
“I didn’t have any thoughts because I was spiraling so I didn’t know what was going on, I was just in strategy mode,” the licensed, solo skydiver told SWNS, according to New York Post.
Then she hit the ground, falling directly onto her leg.
“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,” Hatmaker told SWNS.
Surprisingly, Hatmaker was still conscious, though most likely in shock. That said, she couldn’t move her body and suddenly, the pain and fear took over.
“First I tried to push myself off the ground, and when I couldn’t move anything, my first thought was I was paralyzed and I was yelling that out,” the skydiver said, adding, “I’ve never heard sounds like those come out of my body. I screamed bloodcurdling screams.”
Virginia Skydiver Now Recovering from Intense Surgeries Following Plummet of 125 MPH
Within five minutes of the 35-year-old skydiver hitting the ground, bystanders and firsts responders were already at her side. A medical helicopter promptly flew Hatmaker to a nearby hospital, where doctors determined that she had broken her back, tibia and ankle. Given the severity of the fall, it was remarkable that this was all that she had sustained.
Still, for Hatmaker, the recovery process was going to be long and brutal.
When Hatmaker’s back broke, “some of the pieces of my vertebrae went into my spinal canal,” as she explained. But she never gave up hope that she would be able to walk – and skydive – again.
“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,” she added.
Just three months after her accident, the skydiver began walking again. She is still recovering from the major injuries but has since gained a brighter outlook on life.
“You can always find something positive even if you can’t see it now, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and you’re going to be better for whatever you’re going through,” Hatmaker shared.