Imagine the terror of being handcuffed, chained, and locked inside a wooden casket ... that is subsequently dropped from an airplane. That's the scenario Anthony Martin faces later today when he takes to the sky over Serena in northern Illinois. The escape artist has a long history of impressive feats (in February 1990 he freed himself from a locked cage that had been lowered through a hole in the ice and into the frigid water at a Wisconsin quarry). Martin now is planning to revisit arguably his most dangerous escape—an August 1988 stunt in which he freed himself from a casket dropped from a plane at 13,500 feet.
This time around, he'll lay inside a plywood box with his hands cuffed to a belt around his waist and his right arm chained to the inside of the box. The casket's door will then be held tight with a prison door lock for which no key exists; a locksmith scrambled the tumblers. The box will be rolled out of the plane at about 14,500 feet. Two skydivers will stabilize the box by holding handles on the side while a drogue similar to the parachutes used to slow drag-racing cars and fighter jets will further steady it from the top as Martin picks the locks. He expects to be free and tracking away at around 7,000 feet after about 40 seconds of free fall, and plans to land on a farm in Serena, 70 miles southwest of Chicago.