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Chuteless JumpsHere are amazing and true stories of three people that plunged toward the Earth without a parachute and lived! These people are members of the Bonus Day Club.
Lieutenant I. M. ChisovJanuary 1942: Russian Lieutenant I. M. Chisov flew his Ilyushin 4 on a bitter cold day in January 1942. He was attacked by 12 German Messerschmitts.
Chisov bailed out at 21,980 ft. because he thought that was his best survival option. He free fell to escape the German fire. His plan was to open at 1000 ft.
He lost consciousness during his freefall. He landed on a steep ravine with 3 ft. of snow and plowed through the snow until coming to rest at the bottom.
He awoke 20 minutes later. He 'only' had a concussion of his spine and a fractured pelvis.
He recovered quickly and was back on duty as a flight instructor 3.5 months later.
Nick AlkemadeMarch 23, 1944: Nick Alkemade of the Royal Air Force survived a chuteless jump. He was a tail gunner in an AVRO Lancaster bomber. While returning from a bombing mission the aircraft was attacked by German Junkers JU-88. Alkemade was trapped in the turret after the bomber caught fire. His parachute was in the cabin area. Alkemade jumped from the aircraft, preferring a quick death to being burned.
He fell from 18,000 ft, all the while thinking of his ultimate death. He relaxed his body and fell in a slightly head down position.
His next recollection was looking up at the stars through some pine trees. He could not believe he was okay. He moved each arm and leg and soon realized he was not even hurt badly.
Completely grateful of being alive he smoked a cigarette, before even getting up. He thought about what had just happened to him.
He realized that the pine trees, with their pliable branches, slowly reduced his descent rate to one that was survivable. In addition, the soft snow cover reduced the landing forces even more.
He finally stood up. His leg was sprained and would not support his weight.
A short time later, the Germans captured Alkemade. The Gestapo did not believe his story of jumping without a parachute. They thought he was a spy. Finally, after inspecting the parachute harness and finding the burned parachute at the crash site they believe him.
Alkemade died on Jun. 22, 1987.
Vesna VulovicJan. 26, 1972: Twenty-two year old, Vesna Vulovic, was a flight attendant on Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 enroute from Stockholm to Belgrade. A bomb, planted by Croatian terrorists, exploded onboard when the aircraft was at 33,330 ft. Vulovic was in the tail section that fell to Earth. It landed at just the right angle on a slope of snow covered mountains.
Rescue operations commenced immediately. Vulovic was severely injured. She broke both her legs and was paralyzed from the waist down. She was in a coma for 27 days. Her recovery took 17 months. She continued to fly with Yugoslav Airlines for 20 more years.
Vulovic returned to the accident scene on Jan 27, 1997. She met her rescuers and placed memorial flowers at the monument for the others that died.
All others on board perished.
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