A Virginia skydiver who became entangled in her parachute in the middle of her 13,500ft jump, has not only lived to tell the tale, but is in the midst of preparing for a summit of Mount Everest.
Jordan Hatmaker, a 35-year-old from Virginia Beach, Virginia, just barely survived from the near-death experience, forcing doctors to remark that it was “miraculous” she was not only alive, but not paralyzed.
“9 days ago I never knew how much my world would change,” the adrenaline junkie wrote in a 23 November 2021 Instagram post.
She went on to detail how the 14 November jump was her 16th solo jump as an Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) student, making her just shy of receiving an A license, which provides proof that a new skydiver has completed their training and is now cleared to jump without supervision.
“I had a high speed malfunction called a Horseshoe where the bridle wrapped around my leg. The main didn’t come out & my leg stayed suspended up in the air,” the 35-year-old explained.
After her legs became ensnared in the ropes of her primary parachute, she set to releasing her reserve, which unfortunately got sent out in the opposite direction of the first one, leading to what those in the diving community refer to as a ‘downplane’.
“I regained a bit of control & was able to semi-steer myself. @ ~ 300ft, my main deployed too, sending me into an accelerated downplane spiral,” she explained.
It took all of 20 seconds from the moment Ms Hatmaker released the chord when she hit the ground, where she remained fully conscious before being airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia.
Ms Hatmaker spent a total of 25 days in hospital, five of which were spent in ICU, recovering from a shattered ankle, broken shinbone, a broken back and a spinal injury.
In a video posted to her Instagram feed, just days after the horrifying parachute incident, she provided an update on her recovery and even managed to share some laughs with her family nearby.
“I’ve got a pair of granny pantys around my knees,” she says in the video, before cracking a joke at how uncomfortable the sight must be making her off-camera father. “They’re about as big as the parachute that got me down to the ground,” she finishes, before breaking into as close to a bent over laugh as she can manage strapped into her hospital bed, back brace and all.
After undergoing several surgeries and relentless physical therapy, she was cleared to be discharged on 9 December from hospital to continue her healing process at home.
In a Christmas post shared to her account, just a few weeks after getting wheeled home, she is seen beaming with her family arm-in-arm around her while she stands propped up with a walker and back brace.
“Blessed to be home for the holidays,” the caption reads.
A Go Fund Me set up on Ms Hatmaker’s behalf provides the gruelling efforts the thrillseeker went through to get back on her feet, noting in a January 2021 update that she’s “regained most of the throughout [her] body”.
The fundraiser, which was initiated by a friend of Ms Hatmaker’s, had the outset goal of raising $10,000 to help support the Virginia-native pay her medical bills, purchase gear to aid in her recovery and make up for the loss of funds she would experience from not being able to work while in recovery.
“With the funds, I was able to buy an adjustable hospital bed, additional bathroom equipment not covered by insurance, wheelchair accessories (like a cupholder-woohoo!), an extra walker, and many other things to help make disabled life easier,” she wrote in the latest update on the Go Fund Me.
“The first $1,000 bill just rolled in and I am so relieved to not have to stress about paying these hospital bills. I feel so blessed, as I know not everyone can say the same.”
In a three-month anniversary post of her accident, the adventure seeker revealed that she was up and walking around, without the assistance of crutches or walker.
“I walk with a slow, gangster swagger, but it’s incredibly freeing to leave the walking devices in the car as I stroll around a store or the house,” she wrote.
“I have the 𝗨𝗧𝗠𝗢𝗦𝗧 respect for those whose spinal cord injuries (& other severe injuries/diseases) have left their mobility greatly impacted; along with all the other internal & emotional effects no one talks about. They are the ultimate warriors & my personal heroes.”
In an interview with the Daily MailMs Hatmaker confirmed that she still has her eyes set on climbing Mount Everest Base Camp in November, a trek she’d previously scheduled before the unfortunate accident derailed her plans.