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  • 36

Vesna Vulovic, Stewardess Who Survived 33,000ft Fall, Dies

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Vesna Vulovic, an air stewardess who survived the highest ever fall by a human being after her plane broke up at 33,000ft (10,000m), has died aged 66 (www.bbc.com) Mehr...

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bbabis
Bill Babis 10
I remember when that happened and have always been fascinated with stories of survival against impossible odds. God speed Vesna and now you'll know the rest of the story.
anthony96
anthony geinopolos 8
Sending prayers to her family

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

744pnf
744pnf 4
How would I define Cretin?

Definition of cretin

1
often offensive : one afflicted with cretinism

2
: a stupid, vulgar, or insensitive person
jbsimms
James Simms 2
I think that pretty much defines it
pilotjag
pilotjag 3
And here you are being rude and stupid. Grow up!
jeanyvesfournier1
Jean-Yves FOURNIER 1
Are insults (cretin, stupid, vulgar, insensitive, rude) all you guys have to oppose him? Not very convincing to me.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 2
I strongly doubt anyone had you in mind.
jeanyvesfournier1
Jean-Yves FOURNIER 1
Well I guess they have the readers in mind, and I am one of them, am I not?
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
You have 2 different membership names?
jeanyvesfournier1
Jean-Yves FOURNIER 1
No I have not. I come here to read interesting discussions between grownups (is that correct english by the way?), not insults. I guess there are specialized forums out there for those who like insulting each other.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 0
I concur with that, JF.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 0
That then begs the question, why ever offer condolences, you geek.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
This comment that's garnered a couple of downvotes refers back to rfgeek (6 or so postings above), and I stand by it.
wcraycroft
Warren Craycroft 3
There is another well documented case of a survivor with no parachute in the book "Into the Silk" that chronicles the "caterpillar club", a club formed for the airmen who lives were saved by a parachute. This club was formed by the parachute manufacturer Irvin when it starting receiving thank-you letters from bailout survivors. Normally to become a member, you had to have a parachute. But in one case, a WW II bomber crewman was hurled out of his plane at high altitude with no parachute. He crashed through branches of a tree and landed in a snow bank with minor injuries. The Germans captured him immediately and documented that he had fallen without a parachute and that his parachute was found in the wreckage of his plane. Technically, he didn't qualify for membership in the caterpillar club because his life had not been saved by his parachute, the requirement for membership. But they gave him an honorary membership anyway. I think there was another case as well, but I read this book years ago and memory is fading. Has anyone else read the book? Any caterpillar members out there?
jpcooper
Peter Cooper 5
Warren, I think you are referring to the incident involving Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade. He was a tail gunner on a Lancaster from 115 Squadron RAF returning to base after an attack on Berlin. The aircraft was attacked and caught fire. Sergeant Alkemade tried to reach his parachute in the fuselage but couldn't because of the fire, which was also burning the parachute. He jumped from 18000 feet, preferring death by impact rather than burning. He crashed through fir or pine trees into a deep snow bank. He was captured and interrogated by the Gestapo as no-one believed his story, until the crashed aircraft was located and the remains of the parachute were discovered. The Luftwaffe took him to a POW camp and the Commondant informed his fellow prisoners of his miraculous escape. I believe he was given a certificate signed by the German Commondant as well as the Senior British Officer confirming his unbelievable story. He died June 22nd. 1987. The matter Bill is referring to concerns a US Ball Turret gunner in a B-17, Alan Eugene Magee. He was returning from a daylight raid on St-Nazaire when the aircraft was hit, severely damaging one wing. The aircraft went into a spiral dive. Magee was wounded but escaped the ball turret and then realised the attack on the B-17 had damaged his parachute. He elected to jump and did so from 22000 feet. He fell four miles and crashed through the glass rook of the St-Nazaire railway station. He was wounded in the attack on the B-17 and sustained further serious injuries on impact with the roof, but he did survive after receiving medical attention from the German Authorities. He died December 20, 2003.
bbabis
Bill Babis 2
Thanks Peter, Some of these stories I read as a kid and that is far enough in the past that my mental hard drive has become pretty fragmented.
wcraycroft
Warren Craycroft 2
Ditto on the memory fragmentation. Thanks for filling in the blanks. Truly remarkable stories.
bbabis
Bill Babis 3
I read that story. He was a B-24 tail gunner. They couldn't wear a chute at station. It was stowed forward and you clipped it on on the way out if needed. His ship was severely hit and flames made it impossible to move forward. He chose to jump out of his shattered plexiglass turret rather than burn to death. He awoke in the snow. The Germans didn't believe that he had free fell until examining his harness and finding the clips unused.

Another story was from Reader's Digest in the early 70s. I think titled "The luckiest Man Alive." It was about a navy pilot whose jet caught fire over the ocean and had to eject. His chute either didn't open or at most steamed and he impacted the water. A ship's captain many miles away saw the stricken jet go down with no observed parachute and set a course to where they might find something based on the winds and sea conditions. They got close enough that a lookout saw him in the water amongst heavy swells. Amazingly they found him and, even more so, he was alive!

There are many more stories culminating with this last one who did it on purpose.

http://surprise.ly/v/?PK0Hl0kWELE:0:0:0:100
wcraycroft
Warren Craycroft 2
Thanks for that detail on the tail gunner. It jogged my memory a bit, and I think this was the case where the falling man was conscious and in a slow tumble where "the stars slowly alternated with the black of the ground". He must have been knocked out when he hit the tree branches. There is some background on the Caterpillar Club at Wikipedia. The Wikipedia account names the tail gunner and claims that he was refused membership. I might have miss-remembered that part of the story :) His fall was documented as 18,000 feet.
Oskipug
Linda Miles 1
My father was. he survived the crash of a Lancaster in Northern France. All his crew were killed.He was a navigator.AH Morrison. DFC.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
Linda...that has to be hard for your Dad. Survivers Guilt. PTSD..You name it.Thank your Dad for his sevice. You"re fortunate to have your Dad. My Dad was in the Army in WW2, in the Pacicic Campain.1st LT. He's passed on now but he wouldn't or couldn't talk about his tour of duty. Too painful for him. Hold on to your Dad! And God Bless him!
RDLoven
Richard Loven 1
There is a WWII Soldier from Gays Mills WI who was a tail gunner on a B17 when the tail section got separated. The Tail fluttered to the ground. He suffered a broken back and of course was captured.
ezramaranga
Ezra Maranga 1
condolences to the family
ChaosFreak
James Ryan 1
This reminds me of this other truly amazing story of a paraglider who was sucked up to 32,000 feet in a thermal in Australia...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1542962/Paraglider-survived-in-storm-at-32000-ft.html
devsfan
ken young 1
Simply amazing that anyone could survive that fall. And then live a relatively normal life the rest of the way. Incredible story. RIP Ma'am
dbtinc
Jim Capone 1
She fall in the bathtub?
vladamier
vladamier 1
This happened in December
alancurtis2
alan curtis 4
Or on 26 Jan 1972, depending on what you mean by "this"
davidrbarnes
David Barnes 1
I noticed too that the article was from December. Wonder why it didn't appear two months back...
Doobs
Dee Lowry 0
I'm appauld at some of these posts. It's deplorable and insensative. Then the posts get off the subject at hand! Some of you are off the track! Stick with the story! Unbelievable.
Doobs
Dee Lowry -1
Vesna is not a "Stewardess"...she is a brave part of the Flight Crew. She is a "Flight Attendent" who beat the almighty odds and survived. God Speed, Vesna. You still and always will wear your wings with pride.
AWAAlum
AWAAlum 1
It may very well be that some 45 years ago when this event occurred, and being in Czechoslovakia, that "stewardess" is quite possibly accurate. However, I do get your drift.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
"Stewardess" is accurate. Although doesn't negate the professionalism of being part of the Flight Crew.In my day Crew Resource Management brought the Cockpit and Cabin Crew together. We were all on the same page. I'm glad you get my drift, AAAAlum!The Flight crews work as a team now. We are all in sync!

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