SALLISAW, Okla. (KFOR) – 44-year-old Heather Glasgow went skydiving at Adventure Skydiving Center in Sallisaw Saturday afternoon, but hit the ground and later passed away due to her injuries.
Adventure Skydiving Center representative, Paul Tucker said in a press release, “The early stages of her skydive were reported as normal, having had a routine parachute deployment without incident. The parachute appeared to be fully functioning and operational as Glasgow executed the parachute maneuvers as instructed during her training. After a short time, witnesses observed her parachute beginning to turn without any corrective action.”
Tucker went on to say when Glasgow hit the ground, it caused life-threatening injuries.
Glasgow was transported to Northeastern Health System Sequoyah where she later passed away that day, according to Tucker.
Glasgow’s cousin, Valori Slaughter said she was driving somewhere between Norman and Noble when she got a call from her mom about the 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.
Slaughter said it felt unreal because she had just spoken with Glasgow earlier that morning.
She added skydiving wasn’t unusual for Glasgow, so when she hadn’t heard from her throughout the day she didn’t think anything of it.
Glasgow has at least tandem jumped three times prior to her solo on Saturday, according to Slaughter.
A tandem jump is when a skydiver is connected to an instructor via a harness.
Tucker said her last tandem jump was six weeks ago with Adventure Skydiving Center.
“She [Glasgow] had just been going through some things and she was like, ‘No, I need to do something for me.’ She needed to feel alive and be alive,” said Slaughter.
Glasgow now leaves behind two children and a shattered family trying to remember the Heather Glasgow they once knew and loved.
“Heather had an infectious laugh that she would call and she would just have you in stitches and she’s always full of life and she’s tenacious. She didn’t have quit in her. She had all sorts of things that would go on and she has some hardships that just continue. It just felt like her whole life was hardship after hardship after hardship, and she just didn’t have quit in her like she was determined. She wasn’t just determined to survive. She was determined to survive with a smile on her face,” explained Slaughter.
Slaughter added Glasgow was an amazing mom.
Although her and Glasgow lived two hours away from each other, Slaughter said they were so close they’d call each multiple times a day.
The United States Parachute Association said an accident like Glasgow’s is very rare.
In 2021, USPA recorded 10 fatal skydiving accidents involving licensed skydivers. 2021 was the lowest year on record for fatalities – a rate of .28 fatalities per 100,000 jumps made. Of these fatalities, zero involved skydiving students.
USPA reported 37.5 million jumps in 2021.
Tandem Skydiving has a stronger safety record with approximately one student fatality per 500,000 jumps on average over the past ten years, said USPA in a press release.
The family is now wondering why Glasgow.
“I’m going to miss her. I don’t know who’s going to call me every day,” Slaughter said while holding back tears. “She went in peace.”
The family is beginning to plan Glasgow’s services.
Meanwhile, Adventure Skydive Center personnel are cooperating with local authorities and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine the cause of Glasgow’s accident.
“The management and staff of Adventure Skydive Center are in shock by this accident, and we express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Heather. We had come to know her as an eager and energetic, well-liked person. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and mourn her passing,” said Tucker.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the expenses of Glasgow’s funeral.
Any additional money raised with this GFM will be put into a trust fund for Glasgow’s two children, according to the family.