Video: escape artist pulls off daring locked coffin skydive
US man parachutes safely to ground after daring stunt
In this photo escape artist Anthony Martin falls while handcuffed and locked inside a box after being dropped from an airplane. Image: Youtube
A US escape artist has parachuted safely to the ground after freeing himself from handcuffs and a locked coffin while it was falling at 209km/h from 4,419 metres in the air.
Anthony Martin waved to a crowd after landing softly in a field in Illinois, about 110km south west of Chicago.
He said that after freeing himself, he watched the box plummet to the ground. Martin (47) was locked in the plywood box with his hands cuffed to a belt and his right arm chained to the inside of the box.
Escape artist pulls off daring stunt
Two skydivers held the outside of the box to hold it steady it as Martin, who first performed the stunt 25 years ago, tried to escape.
Martin said the escape was exhilarating but that he was disoriented because the plywood box moved wildly from side-to-side while he picked the locks, and he struggled to open the door.
He said: “I didn’t feel any force, but what I felt was lot a of jostling. It seemed to me like I had a glimpse of the ground for a second then it (the door) came back and I had to give it another push.”
Martin, who began teaching himself to pick locks aged six, somersaulted out of the box as he pushed his way to freedom. “I didn’t know where I was ... but I was hypnotised as I watched the box falling behind me,” he said. All the skydivers involved in the stunt carefully checked the others’ equipment before Martin climbed into the box and was handcuffed to a belt around his waist and chained to the inside of the casket.
A prison door lock for which no key exists was screwed into place to hold the door tight as two of the skydivers checked for sight of the proposed landing area from the open door of the plane, a Short SC.7 Skyvan.
When everyone was ready, a small parachute attached to the top of the box was tossed from the door sucking the box from the aircraft. Two skydivers also held on to handles to further steady the casket as others shot video and stills of the escape-or-die jump.
The box rocked from side to side until around 6,500 feet when Martin, from Wisconsin, emerged and tracked away from the box before deploying his parachute. “It was one of the greatest feelings ever knowing that one of your best friends has again escaped death,” said Rook Nelson, a national champion skydiver, who coached Martin in the weeks leading up to the jump.
Everyone involved in the stunt landed safely and no one was seriously hurt, although one of the skydivers trying to steady the box slammed into the door of the plane as they exited, giving him a fat lip and a scraped arm.
Martin has performed the same stunt once before, in August 1988 on just his 17th skydive.