The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-11-2002, 09:13 PM
jimmmy jimmmy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Has anyone ever fallen from an Airplane and survived.

Has anyone ever fallen from an Airplane (flying at say +1000 feet) and survived? Can you show sites/cites? I’ve heard stories of tails of airplanes breaking off and people surviving, and of course mainy stories that end:

“… and though the ‘schute didn’t open, he landed in really really deep mud, he broke every bone in his body, but he survived.

Again, heard these a lot, but do any of these Urban legends have a basis in fact?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-11-2002, 09:21 PM
JMRossi JMRossi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
I can't remember where I saw it,but read something about a Russian WW 2 pilot who rammed a German plane and fell thousands of feet,landing in a hay stack and lived.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-11-2002, 09:22 PM
donkeyoatey donkeyoatey is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
This guy suvived from 3200 ft. He jumped though, don't think you'll find many who actually fell.
__________________
Yeah, it's like goldy and bronzy, only it's made of iron.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-11-2002, 09:46 PM
Reeder Reeder is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Lexington NC
Posts: 7,153
Quote:
Vesna Vulovic
Jan. 26, 1972: Twenty-two year old, Vesna Vulovic, was a flight attendant on Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 enroute from Stockholm to Belgrade. A bomb, planted by Croatian terrorists, exploded onboard when the aircraft was at 33,330 ft. Vulovic was in the tail section that fell to Earth. It landed at just the right angle on a slope of snow covered mountains.

Rescue operations commenced immediately. Vulovic was severely injured. She broke both her legs and was paralyzed from the waist down. She was in a coma for 27 days. Her recovery took 17 months. She continued to fly with Yugoslav Airlines for 20 more years.

Vulovic returned to the accident scene on Jan 27, 1997. She met her rescuers and placed memorial flowers at the monument for the others that died.

http://www.parachutehistory.com/other/bonusday.html

All others on board perished.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-11-2002, 09:55 PM
Neptune Neptune is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Break a leg

I saw it with my own eyes. There was a demonstration of precision skydiving. One of the divers had a faulty chute that did not open. I saw him fall with my own eyes. In the paper the next day I read that he had fallen through an aluminum garage roof. He broke his leg, but was otherwise fine.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-11-2002, 09:57 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: NoWA
Posts: 49,020
From Chuteless Jumps:
Quote:
January 1942: Russian Lieutenant I. M. Chisov flew his Ilyushin 4 on a bitter cold day in January 1942. He was attacked by 12 German Messerschmitts. Chisov bailed out at 21,980 ft. because he thought that was his best survival option. He free fell to escape the German fire. His plan was to open at 1000 ft. He lost consciousness during his freefall. He landed on a steep ravine with 3 ft. of snow and plowed through the snow until coming to rest at the bottom. He awoke 20 minutes later. He 'only' had a concussion of his spine and a fractured pelvis. He recovered quickly and was back on duty as a flight instructor 3.5 months later.

March 23, 1944: Nick Alkemade of the Royal Air Force survived a chuteless jump. He was a tail gunner in an AVRO Lancaster bomber. While returning from a bombing mission the aircraft was attacked by German Junkers JU-88. Alkemade was trapped in the turret after the bomber caught fire. His parachute was in the cabin area. Alkemade jumped from the aircraft, preferring a quick death to being burned. He fell from 18,000 ft, all the while thinking of his ultimate death. He relaxed his body and fell in a slightly head down position.
His next recollection was looking up at the stars through some pine trees. He could not believe he was okay. He moved each arm and leg and soon realized he was not even hurt badly. Completely grateful of being alive he smoked a cigarette, before even getting up. He thought about what had just happened to him. He realized that the pine trees, with their pliable branches, slowly reduced his descent rate to one that was survivable. In addition, the soft snow cover reduced the landing forces even more. He finally stood up. His leg was sprained and would not support his weight. A short time later, the Germans captured Alkemade. The Gestapo did not believe his story of jumping without a parachute. They thought he was a spy. Finally, after inspecting the parachute harness and finding the burned parachute at the crash site they believe him. Alkemade died on Jun. 22, 1987.
__________________
'Never say "no" to adventure. Always say "yes". Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life.' -- Commander Caractacus Pott, R.N. (Retired)

'Do not act incautiously when confronting a little bald wrinkly smiling man.' -- Lu-Tze
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-11-2002, 11:40 PM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N/W Arkansas
Posts: 5,658
There have been a lot that "Plummered" in the military that have survived but I can find no cites. I saw two in 1964 at Ft Campell and my son "streamered" in in 1992 I think it was and only hurt his back. Which is now coming back to haunt him. He saw several 'walk-a -ways' while actively jumping. I don't think the Army wants all that stuff to go public though.
__________________
I have drawn a thousand lines in the sand. I only have one left standing and I have bent the hell out of it.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-12-2002, 10:49 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 25,531
A friend of mine in the Canadian Forces survived a streaming parachute. THe first chute was defective, and he popped his reserve chute before cutting away the first one and it tangled together with it.

He landed almost flat on his back (The best way, apparently), in a freshly ploughed field. Broke his back, several ribs, both legs. He was in the hospital for weeks, but made a full recovery.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-12-2002, 11:07 AM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Reeder quoted the world record--the person to survive a fall from the greatest height. As mentioned in his post, it was greater than 33,000 feet.

I was always curious just what kind of survival she had; thanks for the info, Reeder. I figured she had to be severely injured, and also wondered if her survival was only technical; that perhaps she died a few days later, etc. Wow. You wonder what the mechanics were of her fall and landing that protected her from being reduced to dust. Heck, you figure she fell the distance of 300 World Trade Centers, stacked end on end.

Shit! I mean...wowzers!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-12-2002, 11:33 AM
Mighty Maximino Mighty Maximino is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally posted by Ruffian
ReederI was always curious just what kind of survival she had; thanks for the info, Reeder. I figured she had to be severely injured, and also wondered if her survival was only technical; that perhaps she died a few days later, etc. Wow. You wonder what the mechanics were of her fall and landing that protected her from being reduced to dust. Heck, you figure she fell the distance of 300 World Trade Centers, stacked end on end.
Yeah, but after the first thousand or so feet you're going as fast as you're ever going to go. All those falls would be more or less the same past that point; I'm thinking where and how you land is the most critical element then.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-12-2002, 12:21 PM
SCSimmons SCSimmons is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Here is a site with the two free-fall survivors Johnny L.A.'s site mentions, plus one more. Other pages on this site list survivors of falls with tangled main and reserve chutes and of falls (like Vusovic's) in which parts of an aircraft were 'ridden' down. And my favorite page, Unplanned Freefall? Some Survival Tips. Yes, you too can cheat the Grim Reaper!
__________________
-Christian
"You won't like me when I'm angry. Because I always back up my rage with facts and documented sources." -- The Credible Hulk
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-12-2002, 02:20 PM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: The Middle of Nowhere, WI
Posts: 10,667
Quote:
Originally posted by Ruffian
Heck, you figure she fell the distance of 300 World Trade Centers, stacked end on end.
Slight correction -- that should be "30 World Trade Centers." But it's still impressive.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-12-2002, 03:14 PM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Quote:
Slight correction -- that should be "30 World Trade Centers." But it's still impressive.
Absolutely correct. Me and my mental math. I even mentally checked it...next time, I need to verify with a calculator.

Hey, it's a Sunday!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-13-2002, 01:55 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,829
I've read of many similar stories over the years. There is a web site somewhere (maybe no longer in existance) that had made a video of sorts of a guy falling out of a bomber in WWII, and basically showed him screaming the whole way down. Probably not realistic, but the point was to show just how far down he fell and how darn long it took. I saw this on tech tv and don't remember the URL, sorry.

There was another story (possibly in Reader's Digest?) about a woman who was in a passenger plane that broke apart in mid air (can't remember the cause). She fell, still buckled in her seat, and survived only because she landed in whatever rain forest they were flying over at the time. She suffered a lot of cuts and bruises, but was able to basically walk out of the rain forest. Bugs laid eggs into her cuts which then later hatched, and she had an otherwise quite miserable time, but managed to survive.

Can't find a site, but I believe it was in a Reader's Digest that I read at my mother's house within the last few years.

I searched google, but this time google was not my friend. Oh well.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-13-2002, 02:15 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,829
Further searching found this:

http://www.burmastar.org.uk/roberts.htm

"One of the men who was pushing supplies out of the plane at an air drop fell out of the plane without a parachute, but miraculously he was able to save himself by clinging on to a bale as it came down on its parachute!"
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-13-2002, 09:00 AM
flapcats flapcats is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
My ex-landlord (and family friend) jumped 1000 feet, out of the back of a Hurcules over the sea (in the 1970's I guess, by his age).

His first chute knotted up and he wasted valuable seconds trying to untie it - got his hand on the reserve cord when he hit and the reserve opened up underwater. The harnesses did severe damage to his legs and arms and he was critical for weeks and spent some time (I don't know how much) in hospital - he made a complete recovery however and went on to become captian of the Red Arrows (RAF stunt pilots).
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.