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Video: North Florida skydivers take 120-mile-per-hour plunge


The sound of wind rushing around you.

Falling at 120 miles per hour.

Praying the parachute will open.

But what happens if it doesn’t?

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First-time skydiver Brittany Higgins was surprised by her dad when they showed up to Skydive Palatka for her birthday. She said she kept asking herself why she wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

Australian resident Alan Parker and Linda O’Birdy from Jacksonville decided they were going to cross off one of the most exhilarating items on their bucket list together.

Art Shaffer, owner of Skydive Palatka, said all of his jumps are memorable, but some stand out more than others.

James Gary Hancock, a tandem instructor, said he doesn’t focus on the risks of skydiving, he just likes to enjoy it.

Shaffer added the issue of parachutes not opening has been around forever, but there are other things to worry about.

Shaffer said there’s something about skydiving that makes people keep coming back for more.

Shaffer said he has done about 14,000 jumps and doesn’t see himself stopping anytime soon.

Hancock added the parachutes these days are more reliable. He advises not to do low turns and check your equipment before every jump to ensure a safe trip back down to earth.

Jensen Werley wrote this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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