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Submitted by on Jan 12, 2022

Falling occurs when a human or animal loses their balance and lands in a lower position, usually on the ground. It is the world’s second-leading cause of unintentional mortality and a significant source of personal harm, particularly among the elderly. Falls in older persons are a common kind of injury that may be avoided. Fall injuries are common in vocations such as construction, electricians, miners, and painters.

Long-term exercise appears to reduce the number of falls among the elderly. In 2015, there were around 226 million incidents of serious unintentional falls. A total of 527,000 people died as a result of these events.

A human falling from a low height reaches a terminal velocity of 190 km/h (120 mph) after roughly 12 seconds, dropping 450 meters (1,500 feet). The individual maintains their current speed without making any changes to their aerodynamic profile. Because to the thinner atmosphere and reduced air resistance at higher altitudes, terminal velocity is higher.

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Vesna Vulovi, a JAT stewardess, survived a fall of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) on January 26, 1972, imprisoned beneath the damaged fuselage of JAT Flight 367’s DC-9. The jet was shot down above Srbská Kamenice in old Czechoslovakia by explosives (now the Czech Republic). The Serbian stewardess had her skull smashed, three vertebrae damaged (one entirely crushed), and was in a coma for 27 days. She stated in an interview that, according to the man who discovered her, “…I was in the plane’s center section. I was discovered with my head bowed and a coworker on top of me. My leg was inside the plane, but my head was outside of it. My spine was jammed against a food trolley, which kept me in the plane. I was really fortunate, according to the man who discovered me. During World War II, he served as a doctor in the German army. At the scene of the accident, he understood how to treat me.”

Several instances of military airmen surviving extended falls from heavily damaged aircraft surfaced during World War II: Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade dropped without a parachute from a height of 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) and survived after colliding with pine trees and soft snow. He had his leg sprained. Staff Sergeant Alan Magee jumped out of his plane without a parachute at 6,700 meters (22,000 feet) and landed on the glass roof of a train station. At 7,000 meters, Lieutenant Ivan Chisov pulled out (23,000 ft). He had a parachute, but he planned to open it later since he was in the middle of an air war and was afraid of being shot while dangling below the parachute. Due to a lack of air, he passed out and fell unconscious down a snow-covered slope. Despite his serious injuries, he was able to fly again three months later.

Two of the Lockerbie bombing victims were said to have lived for a short time after hitting the ground (with the forward nose section fuselage in freefall mode), but died of their injuries before rescue arrived.

Juliane Koepcke survived a long free fall in the Peruvian rainforest after LANSA Flight 508 (a LANSA Lockheed Electra OB-R-941 commercial aircraft) crashed on December 24, 1971. During a heavy rainstorm, the plane was hit by lightning and burst in mid-air, dissolving 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) above the ground. Köpcke, who was 17 at the time, was thrown to the ground while still strapped into her seat. The German Peruvian adolescent only suffered a broken collarbone, a cut to her right arm, and a swollen right eye as a result of the accident.

A skydiver from Staffordshire was supposed to have plummeted 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) without a parachute and survived in Russia, as an example of “freefall sourvival” that was not as dramatic as sometimes portrayed in the press. Another skydiver was meant to send him a signal to deploy his parachute, but it arrived two seconds too late, according to James Boole. Boole fell on snow-covered rocks and fractured his back and ribs while recording the other skydiver for a television program. While he was fortunate to live, he was not in genuine freefall since he was wearing a wingsuit, which reduced his vertical speed somewhat. He impacted while his parachute was beginning to open over declining terrain with thick snow cover. Other skydivers have survived incidents in which the press claimed that no parachute was open while, in fact, they were being delayed by a small region of tangled parachute. They may still be lucky to escape, but a 130 km/h (80 mph) collision is significantly less damaging than a 190 km/h (120 mph) strike in typical freefall.

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