Heather Glasgow, Poteau, Oklahomo mom of two plunges to her death during first solo skydive at Sallisaw after unable to recover from parachute spinning upon deployment.
An Oklahoma mother of two has died in a skydiving accident after experiencing complications midair during her first solo jump, police said.
Heather Glasgow, 44, of Poteau, was killed when her parachute seemingly failed to open correctly at Sallisaw Airport on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses said upon the chute deploying, it began to spin uncontrollably with the inexperienced diver unable to recover and hitting the ground hard. The mom of two sustained life-threatening injuries and was soon after declared deceased according to a statement from the Sallisaw Police Department.
‘An unknown issue arose during the skydive,’ cops said.
Witnesses told investigators that Glasgow’s parachute had fully opened, ‘but she was in a spin that she did not recover out of’ before hitting the ground, the statement read.
Victim had received training and had participated in tandem jump
In an interview with 5NEWS, eyewitness Roland Preston said: ‘The body that was on that parachute, was just spinning in circles. I mean, it was completely sideways.
‘I feel like they were already unconscious in the air. Because if they would have been responsive in the air, they would’ve been kicking their legs. They would have been trying to fight with their arms to control the parachute.’
He added: ‘It bothered us so badly. I wanted to be able to do something for the individual but there was nothing that I could do at all except call 911. There is no way that individual could have lived through that.’
Preston also told News 5 that he had never heard of an issue before at the Adventure Skydiving Center.
The accident took place around 3:30 p.m. near the Arkansas state line and about 150 miles east of Oklahoma City. Glasgow was taken to Northeastern Health Systems Sequoyah, where she was pronounced dead just after 8 p.m.
Police said Glasgow had previously conducted a tandem skydive before the ill-fated solo jump and attended two first-time jump classes at Adventure Skydive Center in Sallisaw.
Glasgow’s cousin, Valori Slaughter, told KFOR that she last spoke to the woman Saturday morning. She said the 44-year-old was not new to skydiving, so when she had not heard from her throughout the day, she was not immediately alarmed.
#RIP Heather 😔
This was her pinned post and she was on day 6 of her “Life Is Good” challenge.
Heather Glasgow, 44 of Poteau, Okla., participated in a solo skydive when an “unknown issue” resulted in her striking the ground.
LIFE IS PRECIOUS #Oklahoma https://t.co/a9X3jpSVCM pic.twitter.com/oOFlrbEgDt
— Cathlina Rivas King 🇺🇸 (@AmeraucanaLover) February 20, 2023
Slaughter said she was driving that afternoon when she got a call about her cousin’s fatal accident.
‘The one thing that was in my mind over and over was the word No. ‘No, no, no, no, no’ I think I told my mom. I didn’t want to believe it,’ said Slaughter.
Glasgow leaves behind her two young sons, siblings and cousins.
Slaughter said her cousin faced a series of hardships in her life but remained tenacious and joyful.
‘She wasn’t just determined to survive,’ the cousin said. ‘She was determined to survive with a smile on her face.’
Glasgow recently wrote on Facebook about being homeless and unemployed only a year ago, but turning her life around since then.
Ominous Facebook post foreboding tragedy
About two weeks before her death, Glasgow posted a message on her social media page touting the skydiving school in Sallisaw and expressing her excitement ahead of her first instructor-aided jump.
‘It should be a nice weekend. If you haven’t taken the plunge and want to then this is the place to do it!’ she wrote.
Ominously, a week later, Glasgow shared a meme on her page depicting a photo of a headstone displaying her name and photo. The epitaph on the monument read, in part: ‘When I die, I want to be thrown out of a plane wearing a Superman costume.’
Just four days ago, hours before she was tragically killed, Glasgow updated her Facebook cover photo, with an inspirational quote which read: ‘There are two forms of courage in the world. One demands that we jump into action with our armour on. The other demands that we strip ourselves bare-naked and surrender. Bravery is a curious thing.’
The Federal Aviation Administration, which is assisting in the investigation, said in a statement that it is looking into the packing of Glasgow’s main and reserve parachutes. No blame to date has been assigned as investigators continue to investigate.