TESTIMONY. “I survived a parachute accident at 4,000 m altitude”

Twenty seconds of vertiginous fall, followed by long months of convalescence. If Jordan lived the fear of her life, she also had an incredible chance.

Adrenaline, Jordan Hatmaker, 35, loves it. The intrepid young woman discovered skydiving in 2015. She fell in love. After jumping many times in tandem with an instructor, she decided to pass her license. One fine day in November 2021, before the weather conditions got too difficult, Jordan planned two solo jumps with his supervisor. The first over Suffolk, Va., is going perfectly well. But in the second, the unthinkable happens…

After one 10 second freefall descent, Jordan pulls away from his trainer and activates his parachute. But, for some reason, as the main sail unfurls, part of it wraps around her leg. While the young woman tries to free herself, her reserve parachute opens. Pulled in opposite directions by the two parachutes, Jordan falls at 125 km/h, in a hellish rotational movement. “Everything happened so fast. I had no time to think, because I was spiraling, so I didn’t know what was going on. I was just in strategy mode to get the best out of it”explains the miracle to the newspaper “The Mirror”.

“I had never heard sounds like those. They were bloodcurdling screams”

Twenty seconds later, the young woman hits the ground and bounces before to crash on the back. Pinned to the ground, she miraculously does not lose consciousness, but screams in pain. I had never heard sounds like that before, she admits. They were blood-curdling screams. I first tried to get up, but I realized I couldn’t move. I thought I was paralyzed.”

Fallen not far from the landing site, she sees help arrive some five minutes later. Rushed to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Jordan then suffered from fractures in the lower back, tibia and ankle. Not to mention his spinal cord which is affected. But the doctors want to be reassuring: “They told me they didn’t think I was going to be paralyzed because I could wiggle my toes.”

His goal: to be able to go hiking in the high mountains!

The victim remains in intensive care for more than a month and continues the operation. “To hold on, I told myself that I could be grateful to be still alive. I always kept the hope of being able to walk again one day.” During his rehabilitation, the moment when she manages to move her legs for the first time marks the beginning of its revival. “At that point, I was only able to lift them a few inches off the bed, but it was so awesome! What a sign of progress! It just gave me more motivation to keep going.”

Jordan made his “first steps” three months to the day after his accident. If the worst is now behind her, her spinal cord injury However, they cause him pain and numbness. And his rehabilitation promises to be long. But the fighter has set herself a goal: to go hiking in the high mountains in November. A little madness that motivates her. “You never know how strong you are until you have to be. Never underestimate yourself.”

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