Amazing People Who Have Survived Huge Falls
The chance of surviving a huge fall depends upon a number of factors. The height of the fall, the landing surface and the part of the body that hits the ground first are important factors.
A study from NASA on the subject suggests that falling at over 17 metres per second is likely to fatal. This means any fall of over 12 metres. However, the following are a few of the people who have defied the odds over the years.
Sometimes called the luckiest (or unluckiest) man in the world, Frane Selak is a Croatian who is said to have escaped death 7 times before winning €800,000 on the lottery in 2003. Among his incredible mishaps, he was blown out of a plane door in 1963, on the only plane trip that he ever made.
It seems to have been caused by a malfunctioning door while he was on a flight to visit his ill mother in Rijeka. Selak said that he was the only survivor, as he landed in a haystack. There appears to be no official confirmation of this accident and it isn’t clear what altitude the plane was at when he fell out.
The world record for the largest fall survived goes to Serbian flight attendant Vesna Vulović. She was on the ill-fated JAT flight 367 from Stockholm to Belgrade in 1972 when a bomb exploded. The plane split into 3 pieces and only Vulović survived.
She fell some 10,160 m (33,330 feet) to the ground without a parachute. Miraculously, she survived the landing, although she suffered a great number of broken bones as a result of it. After spending days in a coma and several months in hospital, Vulović made an almost complete recovery.
Nicholas Stephen Alkemade
Rear-gunner Alkemade was in an RAF Lancaster bomber in the Second World War when disaster struck. It was March 1944 and the plane was over Germany, on its way home from a raid on Berlin, when it was attacked and caught fire. His parachute had been burned, so Alkemade made the decision to jump out at 5500 m (18,000 feet) without one.
His lucky landing on pine trees and soft mounds of snow meant that he only suffered a sprained leg. He was held as a prisoner of war before being freed at the end of the war. Of course, other types of job also include the risk of falling. In terms of construction work at height, the use of a fall protection post is essential.
In 1985, Hawaiian-born Yamashiro was out climbing the giant Nuʻuanu Pali cliff on the island of Oʻahu. The 18-year old’s girlfriend had become stranded after suffering a fall. Yamashiro attempted to rescue her but in doing so he fell head-first some 300 feet (91 meters) off the Pali Ridge.
The situation got worse as television viewers followed a rescue attempt live on their screens. This rescue caused him to suffer a second fall, this time of 100 feet (31 meters). He received multiple injuries but remarkably survived. Yamashiro has since become an evangelist and radio host.