Anthony Martin, 47, landed safely in Serena, Ill., after freeing himself from handcuffs attached to a belt around his waist and picking a prison lock that held the box shut, WLS-TV in Chicago reported. He accomplished the feat while in free fall.
Martin did have help. Two members of his Skydive Chicago team fell with him, holding the box steady.
"You just have to breathe gently. You can't let your emotions get you, you just start making foolish mistakes," Martin said.
Stephanie Eggum, 32, of Elgin, Ill., a professional skydiver, was killed last week in Ottawa, Ill., where Skydive Chicago is based.
Martin, who said he began studying to be an escape artist when he was a 6-year-old in Sheboygan, Wis., did the coffin stunt as his 17th skydive a quarter-century ago. While he said he was happy to survive the repeat, he is also not overly worried about death.
"Ten out of every 10 people die. It's what we all have in common. It's up to each of us to find out what happens after we die," Martin said.