STOCKTON, CA – Craig Stapleton is 51 with more than 7,000 jumps in his experience. What happened last weekend near Lodi nearly ended that passion and his life.
Stapleton was involved in a flag-unfurling stunt with a partner when things went wrong.
“As we separated a lanyard out to get the flag out, I got to the end too fast. There was so much momentum it flipped me around. I snapped back, like a dog at the end of a leash,” said Stapleton.
His main parachute began wrapping around his arms. At 1,700 feet, and falling fast, Stapleton opened his backup chute but that got tangled with the main device.
“I was convinced I was going to die. I looked at the ground and was still spiraling and thought ‘this is where I’m going to die,'” said Stapleton.
The fall was caught on home video by someone on the ground near the Lodi Parachute Center. Stapleton figures he was traveling about 30 miles per hour when he landed among grapevines.
“I landed between the grapes. It was the only field they’d plowed already.
Reporter: “What grape?”
Stapleton: “I think it was zin.”
Reporter: “Do you like zin?”
Stapleton: “I do now!”
(News 10 Sacramento)