Free-agent WR Donte’ Stallworth speaks about balloon crash
Free-agent wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth was injured in a hot air balloon accident on March 16 that severely burned him and his girlfriend and spoke out for the first time on what really happened that day.
The balloon carrying Stallworth, his girlfriend and balloon’s pilot became tangled after hitting power lines.
“In that moment, I thought my eyes would close and I’d never wake up again,” Stallworth told FoxSports.com about the accident.
He described the pain of electrical shock, saying “imagine the hardest hit you’ve ever taken and multiply that by 1,000.”
The first hint of a problem, Stallworth said, occurred when the balloon operator radioed to his ground crew that he would not be able to make his intended landing spot. He spotted a secondary location — an open field in Homestead — and told his ground crew to assemble there and prepare for their landing, Stallworth said.
Soon, Stallworth, Guerrero, and the pilot saw power lines in the near distance. The pilot discussed this potential hazard with his ground crew, Stallworth said, and asked the football player, whom he had given an anchor-like device to hold, to throw it over the basket upon his command, which he would give after they cleared the power lines.
Stallworth spent last season with the New England Patriots and hopes to resume his career next season. His girlfriend, Soleil Guerrero, left the hospital last week and says she is undergoing physical therapy.
“I’ve played professional football for 10 years and I’ve never been carted off the football field,” Stallworth recalled telling the paramedics. “Now, after a couple hours in a hot air balloon, I’m getting airlifted off a farm.”