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Thread: Skydiver Craig Stapleton survives hitting ground at 30 MPH

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    Skydiver Craig Stapleton survives hitting ground at 30 MPH

    Skydiver Craig Stapleton survives hitting ground at 30 MPH - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

    Skydiver Survives Horrifying Crash

    Posted on: 4:08 pm, March 14, 2013, by Kara Sutyak

    LODI, California (KTXL)–To look at Craig Stapleton today, you’d never know he survived a horrifying skydiving accident on Sunday.
    The spinning free fall and crash was all caught on tape.
    “I knew it was bad when I was living it and when I saw the video I said, ‘Wow. That’s a lot worse than I thought. ‘How did I walk away from that? How did I manage to survive?’” Stapleton told FOX40.
    Stapleton, a master of 7,000 skydiving jumps, was testing a flag release stunt with jump partner Katie Nelson, when things began going very wrong.
    “The speed of the deployment was too much and it actually flipped me through the risers of my parachute and fouled my parachute,” he said.
    Stapleton began spinning, uncontrollably, for three minutes. During the spin, Stapleton deployed his reserve parachute at the hard deck of 2,000 feet, only to watch it get tangled and stuck in the already disabled chute.
    While Craig was trying to slow his descent to earth, his dive partner Katie Nelson was watching, powerless to help her friend.
    “I was pretty sure I was about to watch my friend die,” Nelson recalls.
    Stapleton dropped out of the sky into the middle of an Acampo vineyard, landing parallel to a row of grapes in freshly plowed dirt, about a foot away from iron grape stakes.
    “One of my last thoughts before I hit was, ‘I really hope I don’t hit an iron spike, because it’ll just be messy,’” Stapleton told FOX40.
    Nelson, a nurse, landed and ran toward Stapleton, convinced he was dead.
    “I couldn’t believe that his head was sticking up, I was like, no he’s just twitching,” Nelson said.
    Stapleton was conscious and breathing.
    “I hurt quite a bit and in my mind, I thought, ‘That’s a really good sign. That’s a good thing.’ And then I tried to get up,” he said.
    Stapleton was rushed to Lodi Memorial Hospital, but there was no emergency surgery, no broken bones, no internal bleeding – just a dislocated shoulder and some major bumps and bruises.
    “I completely lucked out. God watches out for idiots and puppy dogs and he just let me live and walk away,” Stapleton said.
    Outside the hospital, were about 30 skydivers from Parachute Center in Acampo, holding a Celebration of Life for Stapleton, which he actually got to attend. If you think slamming into the ground at 30 miles an hour would dissuade Craig Stapleton from ever sky diving again, you’d be wrong.
    “I think this weekend is out, but I think next weekend I’ll be back in the air,” Stapleton said.

  2. #2

    Re: Skydiver Craig Stapleton survives hitting ground at 30 MPH

    PERRIS: Camp Pendleton Marine dead in skydiving accident


    Comrades try and cope with the death of one of their members after he was killed in an skydiving accident near the Perris Valley Airport in Perris on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

    UPDATE: Marine killed in skydiving accident is identified Wednesday

    A Marine doing a skydiving training exercise with a group from Camp Pendleton was killed in Perris Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 26, authorities said.

    A skydiver down was reported about 3 p.m. in the 2000 block of Goetz Road north of Perris Valley Skydiving, a Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department news release said. The man died at the scene.

    Eric Kazakoff, CEO of Western Construction Auctions – a heavy equipment auction company – said the skydiver landed in their 10-acre storage yard next to the skydiving center.

    Several people on the property heard a very loud noise, he said, and rushed to see what had happened.

    “It was awful,” he said. “The parachute didn’t open …There was not a lot anybody could do.”

    Kazakoff said a member of the military quickly arrived and asked them to stay away.

    Sgt. Lisa McConnell, of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, said the parachutist was doing training exercises at the skydiving facility with a group of Marines from Camp Pendleton. She referred further questions to the U.S. Marine Corps.

    Captain Alex H. Lim, a Marine Corps spokesman, confirmed in a news release that a Camp Pendleton Marine was involved in a training accident. He said the circumstances surrounding the accident are under investigation.

    The identity of the Marine was being withheld until his family could be notified, Lim said.

    There was at least one death at Perris Valley Skydiving in 2012 and five in 2011. There have been at least 15 deaths there since 2000, including Tuesday's fatality. The drop zone records about 140,000 jumps annually, according to Perris Valley Skydiving officials.

    Follow Sarah Burge on Twitter @sarahkburge or online at

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