Stallworth describes recent near death experience
MIAMI (WHDH) -- A professional athlete and a friend were excited to hop in a hot air balloon until things took a turn for the worse.
Donte Stallworth had not been seen on the football field in a while.
Last season he only played one game for the New England Patriots, but he has been in the headlines recently because he and a friend were shocked during a hot air balloon accident. Monday, for the first time since the accident, Stallworth described the moment that they thought they were going to die.
It was March 16 when Donte Stallworth and his friend Soliel Guerrero took flight over South Florida. For more than an hour the hot air balloon ride was perfect. "Very quiet, very peaceful," said Stallworth. "It was a nice day. We took a lot of pictures. It started off as a normal day."
Laughs turned to screams, however, as the balloon ended up hitting power lines while descending in Homestead.
For the first time, Stallworth and Guerrero described what happened in an interview with ESPN. "I looked back behind me," said Stallworth, "and saw we were getting really close to the power lines. About the time I realized we were going to hit the power line it was too late."
Guerrero also described the horrific ride. "As soon as we hit the power line, I could feel the electricity run from, I felt it in my spine from the top all the way through my body."
"Shock felt like it was maybe two or three seconds," said Stallworth, "but it was the longest two or three seconds of my life."
"I caught on fire somehow," said Guerrero. "I couldn't believe that this was where it was going to end."
But the two did survive. Medics airlifted them to Kendall Regional Medical Center with second and third degree burns. They described the pain as excruciating. "It felt like the hardest hit you've ever taken times a hundred," said Stallworth.
The pilot of the hot air balloon was not injured.
A preliminary investigation said that it appears a downward gust wind pushed the balloon into the power line.