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Amazing story, here. Vesna Vulovic, a flight attendant from Belgrade, Yugoslavia (modern day Serbia), survived a 33,000 ft. (10,000 metres) fall after the flight she was working on was destroyed by what was believed to be a briefcase bomb. She was the only survivor. Vulovic’s survival was due to a few extremely fortunate factors: firstly, being pinned to the fuselage by a food cart, keeping her stuck in place whilst, as the cabin lost pressure and other passengers and flight crew fell to their deaths, as well as having low blood pressure, which allowed her to pass out quickly, and her heart not to burst during the extreme ordeal (she actually commented on her apprehension about this condition prior to taking her exams to become a flight attendant; drinking an excessive amount of caffeine before the medical, in order to boost her blood pressure, albeit temporarily, resulting in her passing the medical part of her examination).
What makes this story even more amazing is that Vulovic was not even meant to be working on this flight – she was in fact mistaken for another member of the flight crew, whose name she shared – Vesna – but she then went on to survive the fall, being found in the village of Srbska Kamenice, and quickly transported to the hospital. She lost consciousness, haemorrhaging, after her rescue and spent some time in a coma, recovering from several broken bones and undergoing physiotherapy to allow her to walk again, as well as therapy to tackle the amnesia she actually had of the crash, yet by June 1972 – five months after her remarkable survival – she was discharged from hospital and slowly worked on regaining strength in her legs and hips. Although she walked with a permanent limp after the crash, she was able to walk without assistance ten months after.
Oh, and she continued to fly and maintained a desire to work as a flight attendant – the bosses of the airline, JAT, themselves had to step in and transfer her to a desk job due to her being, at this point, an international celebrity, making flights she travelled on a safety risk for fear of future attacks (and, on a lighter note, because passengers constantly wanted to sit next to her).
She struggled at times with ‘survivor’s guilt’ – common for individuals who solely survive an accident to this extent – but maintained her optimism towards life, was a political activist, and continued to experience international fame (including induction into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985), amongst numerous other accolades, and lived until 2016.
I read a long time ago that the other main factor in her surviving the fall was she landed in a very muddy field, somewhat breaking her fall.
There was a German girl who survived the disintegration caused by a lightning strike of an aeroplane at cruising altitude over the Peruvian rain-forest; and in addition she wandered for several days through the jungle, before chancing upon some remote habitation. I’ve put this absolutely immediately upon seeing this post … so it’s a ‘sketchy’ answer: I might be able to fill it in a bit more.
I know I’m not crazy… That looks just like Edie Falco
Lucky lady! There was a WW2 Lancaster tail gunner with a similar survival story, who fell without parachute from a height of several thousand feet into deep snow, and survived to be captured.