A fall from 50–60ft would prove fatal to most people. But what about 10 or 100 times that height? If you’re plummeting from great heights without a parachute, the odds are against you. There has been quite a few people who have fallen and survived from their near-death falls and here we look at just a few of our favorites. Read more below for some extraordinary accounts of near-death falls of those of have miraculously walked away from such great heights. Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below!
BONO- 8,000ft fall
U2’s Bono cheated death in a near-death fall on November 12th 2014, when a rear door of his private jet reportedly fell off while he was on his way from Dublin to Berlin.
The Irish rock star was on board the Learjet 60 D-CGEO making the two-hour afternoon trip from Dublin to Berlin. He was the only member of U2 on the plane, as bandmates Larry Mullen, the Edge and Adam Clayton were due to fly separately late last night.
Bono flew out early to attend a diplomatic function with the German minister of economic cooperation and development, Gerd Mueller. But when Bono and his crew reached the German coast, flying at about 8,000ft, and preparing for landing when an 80 x 100 cm chunk of its door was ripped off.
Luckily, everyone aboard the flight is safe and according to reports, the door was outside the pressurized area of the cabin so there was no loss of pressure and no need to don oxygen masks.
The plane landed minutes later at Berlin’s Schoenefeld Airport and the Aviation authorities in Germany are officially investigating the incident.
JOSHUA HANSON- 160ft fall
Wisconsinite Joshua Hanson went to Minneapolis in late January 2007 to throw some darts. Instead, he ended up throwing himself through a hotel window.
After a night at the bars, Hanson and friends returned to the Hyatt Regency hotel around 1:30 am. Upon exiting an elevator on the 17th floor, Hanson took off running down a hotel corridor, straight for the double-paned window.
The 275-pound Hanson lost his balance and smashed through the glass headfirst. Tumbling over, he fell 160 feet before landing on his feet atop an asphalt-covered first-floor overhang.
It has been said it was probably the overhang and intoxication that allowed Hanson to walk away from the incident with just a broken leg and a few scratches.
CHRIS SAGGERS- 220 ft fall
Window washer Chris Saggers has nerves (and a body) of steel.
Saggers worst nightmare came true when working on the Salford Tower Blocks in Britain. He was was working on the 22nd floor when he suddenly fell off of his scaffold.
The most miraculous part of his story isn’t that he simply survived the deadly drop, but rather that when he landed, he stood up, dusted himself off, and told everyone, “I’m fine.”
A medical exam revealed that Saggers had only suffered a broken elbow from the event. He was lucky to have landed on the roof of a car rather than the hard pavement, but walking away from a fall of that magnitude is still astonishing.
MIKO- 500ft fall
On October 20th, 2003 it was reported that Munich police had detained a base jumper after they found him dangling by his parachute from a construction crane 150 feet above the ground.
According to the report, the man had leapt from the 35th floor of an unfinished highrise- almost 500 feet up- only to have his parachute fail. Luckily for him the tangled lines of his parachute snagged the crane, saving him from near certain death.
The jumper, posting under the name “Miko“, explained that the chute opened cleanly, but not in the direction that he planned. Before he could turn away from harm, he slammed into the building and his rapid descent was underway.
Miko was detained by Munich police and charged with trespassing and violating aviation laws.
JULIANE DILLER- 10,000ft
Juliane Diller’s story of survival extends far beyond her death-defying fall to Earth.
On Christmas Eve 1971, Diller and her mother were on LANSA Flight 508 over Peru, when the flight suddenly hit an extreme thunderstorm that tore the plane apart and sent Diller plummeting into the Peruvian rain forest.
The 17-year-old was strapped to her seat and only suffered from a broken collarbone, deep cut on her arm, and a swollen eye. She immediately unbuckled herself and began searching in vain for her mother, knowing that she had no choice but to find civilization or die.
Setting out to find a water source, Diller followed a river for 10 days as her injuries grew infected, and she was kept awake all night by bugs. She finally stumbled upon a boat and gasoline ca in which she used to extract the 35 maggots that had made a home in the wound on her arm.
Diller stayed with the boat for another 10 hours before she was found because she didn’t think it was right to just steal it.
CHRISTINE MCKENZIE- 11,000ft fall
South African skydiver Christine McKenzie has lept from an airplane and parachuted safely to the ground more than 100 times in her life.
In August 2004, while executing jump number 112, her main parachute didn’t open. Hurtling to the ground at 100 mph, McKenzie attempted to open her emergency chute, which also failed.
Luckily, she landed across a string of power lines before falling all the way to the ground, and the 11,000-foot plummet left her with only a broken pelvis.
The give in the lines dampened the force of her descent.
ALAN EUGENE MAGEE- 20,000ft fall
World War II is full of stories of young airman falling from extreme heights and one of the most sensational stories is about American Staff Sargeant Alan Magee’s fall from 20,000 feet.
In January of 1943, Magee was a ball turret gunner in a B-17 Flying Fortress on a bombing run on the Atlantic coast of Nazi-occupied France. During the raid, his plane, took enemy fire and broke up over the U-boat yards of St. Nazaire. Acting quickly, Magee escaped his turret and jumped from the flaming bomber without a parachute.
Because of the altitude, Magee lost consciousness mid-fall before smashing through the glass roof of St. Nazaire’s train station.
Hours later, he awoke to find German doctors putting him back together. His injuries included a broken right leg and ankle, a nearly severed right arm, and 28 shrapnel wounds from shards of glass.
STEVE FOSSETT- 30,000ft fall
Two-thirds of the way into his fourth attempt to collect the $1 million prize for circumnavigating the globe solo in a helium balloon called The Solo Spirit, American adventurer Steve Fossett ran headlong into dark wall of storm clouds over the Coral Sea.
Daring as ever, Fossett decided to try sailing his vessel over the storm but failed to clear the front and instead sailed directly into a barrage of hail. Thirty thousand feet in the air, the hail shredded the mylar skin of The Solo Spirit and Fossett’s passenger capsule began falling from the sky. To brace for impact, Fossett lay across the bench of the capsule and awaited his fate.
Shockingly, when the remnants of The Solo Spirit splashed down, Fossett found himself totally unhurt. As the capsule filled with water, he scrambled out with a life raft, and was eventually rescued after more than 10 hours at sea.
FELIX BAUMGARTNER- 128,000ft fall
In 2012 Felix Baumgartner’s became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power. His 39-kilometer adrenaline rush reached speeds of up to 1,342 kph (834 mph).
Baumgartner’s body was pushed to its limits once he entered the stratosphere, as he went into a dangerous spin. The flat spin, as it’s known, has proven deadly for many, causing blood to rush to the brain due to the centripetal force.
It took Baumgartner a full four minutes to make the descent from space to the soil of New Mexico. He managed to remain conscious throughout the fall, avoiding another risk that jumping from space brings.
Had Baumgartner passed out, it’s likely that his flat spin would’ve killed him. The famous daredevil has since retired and has claimed that he didn’t enjoy the record-breaking space jump.