11/19/2014 03:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Is the Farthest Someone Has Fallen Without Dying?

What is the farthest someone has fallen (free fall) without dying?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Answer by Diana Crețu

Her name is Vesna Vulović.


She is a (now 64 year old) Serbian woman who used to be a flight attendant.

In 1972, when she was 22 years old, she was working on a flight that was over the (now) Czech Republic when a bomb explosion in the baggage compartment caused the plane to break apart. The bomb was claimed by a Croat that was member of a nationalist group, but no official confirmation has been made.

Vesna was the only survivor. She fell freely, without a parachute, from a height over 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). The impact got her many severe injuries (fractured skull and vertebrae, as well as broken legs). She also became partially paralyzed, and went into a coma for almost a month. She fully recovered from these injuries though, and switched to a desk job with the same airline.

Unlike many others who have been through such experiences, she hasn't developed a fear of flying, and has no issues watching movies with plane crashes.

In 1985, she was awarded the Guinness Record title for the highest fall without a parachute.

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