An Oklahoma skydiver delivering the game ball for a professional soccer match said Thursday muscle memory kicked in when his parachute malfunctioned in an incident he captured on camera.
Daniel Herndon said he reached speeds of about 120 mph before he deployed his parachute Tuesday. He said the deployment bag come out spinning, causing a line twist in the parachute.
Herndon, 32, was jumping into Taft Stadium to deliver the ball for the Oklahoma City Energy’s game against Chivas USA. It was his first demonstration jump into a stadium after skydiving for close to seven years.
“I started the jump a little nervous,” he said.
The video shows Herndon falling for about ten seconds before deploying the first parachute around what Herndon said was 4,000 feet. He said the parachute slowed him down to about 40 mph but that he accelerated up to as fast as 80 mph during the malfunction.
“I gave it a couple seconds and looked at my altitude before I decided to activate my emergency procedures,” he said. “It was really just muscle memory.”
The Skiatook man said he struggled with the malfunctioning parachute for about 500 feet before he deployed his reserve canopy and managed to land on the stadium field.
“I just handled my business,” he said. “It was on the ground when it hit me what happened.”
Herndon said he was in control the whole time, but that he was frustrated the situation happened when it did.
“This is supposed to be the time where you’re the most professional. It was in front of a crowd,” he said.
Herndon said he was disappointed that he lost his equipment, which cost him around $2,500.
“I saved and worked hard to pay for this, and I’m just watching it drift away over the city,” he said.
He had hoped that someone found the equipment and might return it, but he says he’s approaching the time frame where it may not be usable. He says unless someone found it and stored it in a closet, UV rays have likely broken down the parachute.