Jordan Hatmaker has it all. She’s cute with long blonde wavy hair, a lovely smile that lights up a room, an adventurous personality, athletic talent, and is sharp enough to hold down a good job working for a defense contractor. However, on November 14, 2021, Jordan Hatmaker almost lost it all.
She had already been on 15 previous solo skydives, but none of them seemed to portend what was to unfold on her harrowing 16th attempt. Jordan leapt from the plane at 13,500 feet, as she had done ten plus five times previously, only this time something went exponentially wrong. Without going into excessive technical detail, Jordan experienced what is called a “horseshoe”, where her pilot chute got entangled around her leg and did not release the main parachute from its container. While attempting to unravel the lines from her leg, Jordan was falling at terminal velocity – about 125mph or 1,000 feet per 5 seconds.
Before she knew it, an Automatic Activation Device deployed the reserve chute. When the reserve deployed, it caused the main parachute to release at about 200 feet above the ground, and the two parachutes were out simultaneously. That is when the two parachutes dragged away from one another and created what is referred to as a “downplane”, accelerating and spinning her towards the ground. Jordan began this mortifying death spiral down to what would certainly be an unpleasant death when she struck the ground at about 80 miles per hour.
However, to the amazement of her doctors, Jordan somehow survived this most brutal of landings, although she broke her ankle, back, and suffered a spinal cord injury. Nonetheless, these days her Facebook photo shows Jordan sitting and smiling comfortably in a chair while sporting a hilarious light-blue T-shirt with a photo of a parachute that proclaims “Oh Chute” in bold writing. Her positive outlook throughout such a crisis has endeared her to a legion of fans and followers who have been inspired by this 35-year-old ball of energy with the “never-say-die” positive attitude.
Jordan is featured in many YouTube videos and news articles, as well as television, radio, and podcast interviews about her ordeal. Her television interviews include Ashleigh Banfield with NewsNation, Deborah Norville with Inside Edition (never aired), Chris Reckling with The Hampton Roads
Show, and Cheryl Nelson with the Main Street Living show. Jordan’s story was featured in dozens of news articles around the world, but it was most notably published by MSN, the New York Post, The Sun, SWNS, and LADBible. In addition to doing many interviews with radio stations around the United States, The Bobby Bones Show, a nationally syndicated radio show, featured a segment on Jordan’s skydiving accident.
On Tuesday, August 23, 2022, this author spoke to Jordan from 12:00 p.m. to 12:21 p.m. in a phone interview. The following is a condensed version of our fascinating conversation:
The Bulletin Post: What year was your first skydive? Why? Does anyone else in your family take these kinds of risks?
Jordan Hatmaker: My first tandem skydive was in 2015. Some of my friends, both military and
civilians, had been skydiving, so I just wanted to try a new adventure. My family members
don’t skydive, so I guess I’d say I’m the adventurer of the family.
TBP: You had less than one minute before you hit the ground. Did you try to improvise? Did you think
about the authorities knocking on your family’s door?
Jordan: I could see the ground coming quickly. I prepared my body like I was trained at Skydive Suffolk
for the impact. I never think about the worst-case scenario. I always think about the best-case scenario.
TBP: Did I hear somewhere you may go to Base Camp at Mount Everest?
Jordan: I leave on November 8, 2022.
TBP: Do you attend church? You mentioned that if God isn’t ready for you then you still have time on
this planet. Do you feel survivor’s guilt?
Jordan: Yes, I attend a local church. I definitely feel survivor’s guilt, because a large majority of those who survive high-speed impacts are permanently paralyzed. I’m not sure why I was chosen to survive and recover so well in what many are calling a miracle story, but I am thankful.
TBP: In a WAVY TV 10 segment, you spoke of how you handed out snacks to Hampton Roads, Virginia
first responders. However, that video was BEFORE your skydiving incident. Were you having some sort
of premonition that you would one day need these essential first responders?
Jordan: Perhaps. I still visit the Nightingale helicopter and bring gift baskets. I just felt at the time that
some of our first responders were being treated poorly by the public, and I just wanted to do my part as
a good citizen.
TBP: Did you know your most viewed YouTube video is from an Indian news outlet? It has over one
million views. Did you ever dream you would be so popular in the country of India?
Jordan: Really? (laughs) I may have to stop by and visit on the way to Mount Everest. It is located
between Nepal and China and just east of India you know.
TBP: For those of us, including myself, who haven’t skydived, what would you compare it to instead? A
roller coaster? A sports car?
Jordan: You know how you go over the top of a roller coaster and sort of feel weightless as you
experience that first drop? That would be the best comparison.
TBP: You made some funny jokes in your YouTube videos, possibly while under the effects of multiple
medications. You said, “my ankle is burning and so is my love for you” and “fight or flight, no pun
intended.” Did your humor help you during the jump or does it help you after the jump?
Jordan: Humor helped me 100 percent. If you can’t laugh at yourself or your situation, what can you laugh at!?
It certainly makes the hard times in life more bearable and the great times that much better!
TBP: Did you play sports in high school and/or college? Are you competitive at board games and video
Jordan: I was a cheerleader at Grafton High School and then attended Longwood University. I don’t like
to lose, but I feel like I am more competitive with myself than anything. For example, if I run two miles
in a certain time, then I want to run it faster the next time.
TBP: Many people who endure miraculous survival situations travel the country and become
motivational speakers. Does this interest you? Have you talked to Toastmasters International yet?
Jordan: Sure! I wouldn’t be afraid to speak in public and tell my story, but I wouldn’t know how to go
about doing that. I know I have a calling.
I’m just not sure what it is I’m supposed to share with others yet.
TBP: Einstein had his famous thoughts on relativity. He said something to the effect that if a man is
talking to a pretty woman, an hour goes by quickly. However, if a man puts his hand on a hot stove, a
second seems like forever. Did time slow down for you during your descent?
Jordan: Yes, it definitely felt like time slowed down before the impact. I went into survival mode and
tried not to panic and assessed the situation as best as I could considering the circumstances.
TBP: Do you know how many people died in 2021 from skydiving mishaps? There were 10 people in
total. The statistics work out to 10 in 3.57 million or 1 in 357,000.
Jordan: Yes, I knew the numbers were relatively low. Oddly enough, skydiving is one of the
safest sports. Sadly, a lot of the mishaps are by the very experienced skydivers who take the
TBP: That just about wraps up our interview. Do you have any other words of wisdom you want to share
with our readers?
Jordan: This experience has taught me that no matter what, you can find opportunity in whatever tragedy or hardship you may be facing. Take it day by day – minute by minute if you need to – and try your darndest to find the glimmers of hope along the way. They are there, you just have to be open to seeing them. Also, it has really helped me to celebrate each milestone, no matter how small. Even the tiniest wins culminate in big successes. By the way, your readers are more than welcome to reach out to me on social media about my story. I’m an open book!
TBP: Would you like to share your Instagram handle and your GoFundMe page? I know you must have
extensive medical bills.
Jordan: Your readers can follow me on Instagram @ohchutejordan.
TBP: Thank you for your time and for sharing your amazing story along with your positive thoughts for
Jordan: Thank you as well and have a great week!
Ultimately, it is Jordan Hatmaker’s steadfast resolve to recover from her near calamity and lead a purpose-driven and meaningful life that has inspired her admirers, not only in Hampton Roads, Virginia, but around the entire world.