A surprise treat for a close friend turned into a disastrous and painful afternoon for Donte’ Stallworth last month.
In an account told by friend and sports publicist Rebkah Howard for FoxSports.com, Stallworth recounted the incident in Miami that led to both he and friend Soleil Guerrero being taken to the hospital for severe burns after their hot air balloon struck power lines and crashed.
The balloon ride was a treat for Guerrero as it was one of the things on her “bucket list.” However, it was a lengthy flight lasting two hours and came to a terrifying conclusion. The balloon pilot tried to land in a field but the balloon didn’t clear the power lines and crashed into it. Both Stallworth and Guerrero were shocked by the power lines and Stallworth said he felt death closing in.
“In that moment, I thought my eyes would close and I’d never wake up again,” he said.
The electricity had caught their clothes on fire and burned them doth severely. Guerrero even couldn’t feel her legs initially. The two were loaded into ambulances and taken to the hospital. The irony of the situation caused Stallworth to laugh while still at the scene.
“I’ve played professional football for 10 years and I’ve never been carted off the football field,” he said he told the paramedics. “Now, after a couple hours in a hot air balloon, I’m getting airlifted off a farm.”
Guerrero just left the hospital last week and is going to physical therapy sessions while Stallworth hopes to resume workouts within the next month. Stallworth is a free agent that is still looking for an opportunity for next season. Stallworth appeared in just one game for the New England Patriots last season. He had just one catch but it was a big one – a 63-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in December.