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Surviving a 33 000 ft. fall without a parachute!

Vesna Vulovic, a former Serbian flight attendant, survived a 33 000 ft. fall on January 26, 1972, without a parachute when a bomb blew up a DC-9 of Yugoslavia's JAT airline (JAT Flight 364). Vesna was 22-years old. She currently holds the world record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, for surviving the highest fall without a parachute. It was exactly 10 160 m (33 333 feet).

The Crash...

The bomb, planted by the terrorist group Ustashe, detonated over the city of Srbska-Kamenica. The DC-9, which had 28 passengers on board, was torn apart by the explosions and the wreckage fell through the air for about three minutes before landing on a snow covered mountain side.

How she survived...

The snow apparently softened the impact and lucky Vesna recieved immediate aid by a German named Bruno Henke. Even better, her rescuer was a World War II medic!

Also, another factor that possibly aided in her survival was her low blood pressure which caused her to pass out quickly and saved her heart from bursting.


At the hospital, the doctors concluded that Vesna had:
  • broken both her legs
  • broken her skull (which was also hemorrhaging)
  • three crushed vertebrae (sections of backbone
Vesna was paralyzed from the waist down and she could not remember anything about the incident and everything one month after - due to amnesia.


However, movement of both a Vesna's legs were restored with a little bit of surgery and patience. By September of the same year, she was fit for work and was given a desk job at the same airline company (apparently to avoid publicity).

Interesting Facts...
  • Vesna was not supposed to be on the flight. Her schedule was mixed up with another stewardess with the same name.
  • The first thing Vesna asked for when she came to was a cigarette.

Vesna Vulovic

This article was created with information from Damn Interesting

EDIT: so apparently there is a chance (emphasis on chance) this might have been a fabricated story to cover up a mistake. Two investigative journalists from Prague claims that the plane Vulovic was on might have been mistaken for an enemy plane by a fighter plane from the Czechoslovakian Air Force and the shot down plane fell and broke up at a much lower altitude than previously claimed. Guardian

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This story is communist propaganda to cover up the accidental shooting down of the JAT367 flight By the Czechoslovak air force. The Yugoslav government worked with he Czechoslovaks to put the blame on the Croatians who were at that in 1972 wanting democracy in Yugoslavia. The Secret police of both countries were involved in the "investigation".
Some German journalists discovered documents which showed the coverup.