Vesna Vulović

Vesna Vulovic

Vesna Vulović (born 3 January 1950) is a former Serbian flight attendant.  She holds the world record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 meters (33,333 feet).

The fall occurred on January 26, 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 stated that there had been an explosion in the front baggage compartment of the plane.  The Czechoslovak secret service, 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.  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. 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.

Vesna looking cutesy

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.

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.  Why?  Because she is a bad-ass.

After the fall

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 fired in 1990 for expressing views critical of Yugoslav ruler Slobodan Milošević, who is a douche-bag.  Bad-asses hate douche-bags.  She participated in protests against his rule afterward, 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.

She continues to be vocal in politics in Serbia, and is a supporter of current President Boris Tadić.  Her story draws attention to this day.

Vesna today (circa 2008)

Vesna today (circa 2008)

Czech Civilian Aviation Authority issued a statement that the cause of the Yugoslav plane crash was an evergreen tree and speculations on it appear in the media from time to time.  Politics have a way of making people spew bullsh!t.  Vesna Vulovic called the conspiracy theory ridiculous, denying the claim that the plane attempted forced landing and descended to such low altitude, which she called a complete sensationalist nonsense.

Here is the source link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovi%C4%87

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