Longest ever fall without a parachute

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Longest ever fall without a parachute

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:18 am

Name: Vesna Vulovic
Place: Serbska Kamenice, Czechoslovakia
Date: January 26, 1972
Length of fall: 33,300 Feet

When a Yugoslav DC9 exploded in mid air, as a suspected result of a terrorist bombing, Vesna Vulovic plummeted over 33,000 feet to land on a snowy slope.

Vesna Vulovic was paralyzed from the waist down, but later recovered and was able to walk. She was the only survivor and holds the record for the longest fall.

The fall occurred on 26 January 1972, over Srbská Kamenice in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), after JAT Flight 367, on which Vulović was a flight attendant, broke apart. The official report of the Czechoslovak investigation commission which was handed over to the ICAO only on 7 May 1974 stated that there had been an explosion in the front baggage compartment of the plane. The Czechoslovak secret service (Státní bezpečnost), which was leading the investigation, presented parts of an alarm clock ten days after the crash which they claimed came from a bomb. The report concluded that the plane was torn apart by that bomb.

On the morning of 27 January 1972 an anonymous man called the newspaper Kvällsposten published in Malmö, Sweden claiming in bad Swedish that he was a Croat and member of a Nationalist group that brought the bomb onto the plane. Apart from this no further evidence was ever found that this was a terrorist attack. Nevertheless shortly after the phone call the Yugoslav government blamed the Ustase which was the Yugoslav regime's designation for Croatian nationalists and extremists of all kinds. This has never been borne out by other sources, neither the Czechoslovak investigators nor an independent international investigation.

According to the official report the explosion tore the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 to pieces in mid-air, and Vesna was the only survivor. Ever since it was said that she survived because she had been in the rear part of the plane. However, Vulović states that she was found in the middle section right above the wings [3]. That tallies with what was said by Bruno Henke, the man who saved Vesna's life by rescuing her from the wrecked fuselage on the ground.

The 22-year old was not scheduled to be on that flight; she had been mixed up with another female flight attendant who was also named Vesna.[2]

[edit] Aftermath
Vulović continued working for JAT at a desk job following her full recovery from injuries which included a fractured skull, two broken legs and three broken vertebrae that left her temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. She regained the use of her legs after surgery and continued to fly sporadically. She claims she has no fear of flying, which she attributes to the loss of memory of the crash, and she even enjoys watching movies with plane crashes.[4] She is considered a national heroine throughout the former Yugoslavia.

Vulović was awarded the Guinness Record title by Paul McCartney at a ceremony.

Vulović was eventually dismissed in 1990 for expressing views critical of Yugoslav ruler Slobodan Milošević. She participated in protests against his rule afterwards, up to and including the Bulldozer Revolution that led to his ousting. Many believe that her status as a national heroine prevented the authorities from arresting her despite her open defiance of the Milošević regime.[3] She continues to be vocal in politics in Serbia.[4]

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