When he had waited long enough, he started to pull his rip cord to open his chute, but discovered both hands already engaged.
Upon leaving this balloon, the aeronauts had pulled the "rip cord," "turning it inside out."
As he went down into the cool night he slid his hand to the rip cord.
"So I did pull my rip cord ring," Dawson breathed, as memory of those weird crazy moments between life and death came back to him.
That being the case, the sooner he pulled the rip cord on the second chute, the better off he would be.