Los Angeles: In a miraculous escape, a seasoned California skydiver survived an 8,000-foot fall with minor injuries and bruises after his parachutes failed and he landed on a patch of soft soil at a vineyard.
Craig Stapleton, 51, who is a 25-year veteran skydiver with over 7,000 jumps under his belt was attempting a complex stunt after jumping from about 8,000 feet when both of his parachutes failed and he went into a three-minute spin, hitting the ground at 48 kmph but survived with minor injuries.
Stapleton, jumped from a plane on March 10 above the vineyards in Lodi, California, with his friend Katie Hanson.
The two were attempting what Stapleton calls a "down plane flag," a flag-release stunt in which their parachutes land on the ground with a flag landing straight up on a lanyard.
The duo started their stunt and at 5,800 feet, about 40 seconds from their exit from the plane Stapleton realised something was wrong with his chute as he was going 145 kmph.
"I was like, `Man, this is like a bad student jump`," he was quoted by the ABC News as saying.
"If you go through gear and get a twist, it`s usually not that big a deal. But with the flag and lanyard, I drug the equipment through the riser group, and it made things malfunction," Stapleton said.
Stapleton went for his auxiliary parachute, which went directly into his main chute, and stayed in there.
"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 realised my situation hadn`t improved".
In video shot by his other teammate TJ Langren, Stapleton is seen plummeting to earth.
He got saved after landing parallel to the road in a row of grapes, in freshly plowed dirt, which he said was "very soft".
Stapleton`s shoulder was dislocated in the fall, but other than a new bumps and bruises he was fine.