Skydiver locked in coffin escapes, parachutes to safety

August 6, 2013 (SERENA, Ill.)

Martin, 47, was dropped from 14,500 feet up. Two skydivers steadied the box while Martin whipped about. All landed safely.

"Praise God it all went good. It's good to be here. It's good to be alive," Martin said.

During Tuesday's jump, Martin laid inside a plywood box with his hands cuffed to a belt around his waist and his right arm chained to the inside of the box. The casket's door was then held tight with a prison door lock for which no key exists; a locksmith scrambled the tumblers.

The box was dragged from the plane at about 14,500 feet, and two skydivers helped stabilize it by holding handles on its side while a drogue similar to the parachutes used to slow drag-racing cars and fighter jets further steadied it.

Martin had less than a minute from the time he was launched into 120 mph free-fall top pick the lock, clear the box, launch the parachute, and land safely on the ground.

"You just have to breathe gently. You can't let your emotions get you, you just start making foolish mistakes," Martin said.

Martin's team came from Skydive Chicago in Ottawa. Just last week, Stephanie Eggum, 32, of Elgin, died during a jump there. He said he had complete confidence in the team.

It's the second time Martin's done the coffin skydive. Twenty-five years ago, the escape artist survived the same stunt- on his 17th skydive ever. The Sheboygan, Wis., has studied the art of escape since the age of 6.

"Ten out of every 10 people die. It's what we all have in common. It's up to each of us to find out what happens after we die," Martin said.

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