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Still rolling, skydiver's dropped camera lands in Cloverdale pigpen (w/video)

An image from the GoPro camera footage.

Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 7:52 a.m.

A Cloverdale couple was busy fielding media inquiries Wednesday from around the world after video went viral on the Internet of one of their pigs trying to eat a camera that fell from a plane carrying skydivers.

The one-minute, nine-second video depicts the GoPro Hero camera apparently coming loose from a skydiver who is preparing to jump from the plane.

The camera continues filming, recording its plummet into what turned out to be a livestock pen, where it remarkably survived impact and came to rest lens up and still recording.

The hilarious part is then watching one of Cort and Mia Munselle's pigs saunter over into frame and open its gaping mouth above the lens, in an apparent attempt to eat the device.

The video had garnered more than 2.5 million views on YouTube by Wednesday evening, and also aired on "Good Morning America," CNN and other farflung media outlets.

"I think it's so funny," said Mia Munselle, a Cloverdale hairstylist. "If people can get a good laugh from it, that's cool."

Cort Munselle, a Healdsburg civil engineer, and the couple's 7-year-old daughter, Eva, were gathering debris Sunday at the family's 15-acre ranch when they stumbled on an odd-looking device, which they at first mistook for trash.

Realizing it was a camera, they brought the device into the house and plugged it into a computer to see if it still worked. Amazingly, it did.

According to records kept on the camera, the last video depicting the plunge into the pigpen was shot eight months earlier on June 30.

Mia Munselle came home from the grocery store Sunday to find her husband at the computer. "You have to see this," he told her.

The couple uploaded the video to Mia's YouTube channel, which previously had only one other video showing Mia cutting hair. She said the couple's main intent was to let family and friends share in the fun. But by setting the privacy settings so that anyone could see it, the video quickly gained attention.

The identity of the camera's owner remains a mystery. NorCal Skydiving operates out of the Cloverdale airport. But president and jump master Jimmy Halliday said Wednesday that nobody reported losing a camera last summer, perhaps out of embarrassment.

Halliday, who has been jumping from planes for 25 years, said he has seen in-air filming evolve from the days when skydivers bolted Sony hand-held cameras onto their helmets to today's GoPro technology, which he called "bombproof."

But he said he initially questioned the authenticity of the pig video because he said he's never witnessed a camera falling to the ground and surviving the impact.

He said NorCal skydivers typically jump from planes flying between 8,000 and 13,000 feet.

"I would give the probability of that, like, 1 percent," he said. "But the thing is, GoPro cameras are designed for extreme sports. They mount them on Nascars and on snowboarders who launch 30 to 40 feet in the air and crash."

A GoPro spokeswoman on Wednesday said the company did not have someone available to comment.

Mia Munselle said a GoPro representative sent a "low-key" email to her asking her to contact the company if ever she wanted to talk.

Who knows, maybe there's a 'GoPig' marketing campaign in the offing?

Mia said another person contacted her to say he knows who the camera belongs to. She said she's consulting with an attorney out of an abundance of caution.

"I don't want to get into trouble or get anyone else in trouble," she said.

As for the pig in the video? She was sold for food. But her memory lives on forever in cyberspace.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.

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