50 years ago, flight attendant Vesna Vulovi пре survived a fall of 10.000 meters: The biggest air mystery in Yugoslavia

Vesna Vulovic
Vesna Vulovi / / Photo: Printscreen / YouTube

50 years ago, the flight attendant Vesna Vulovi. survived a plane crash of more than 10.000 meters and entered the Guinness Book of Records as the only one who survived a fall from such a height without a parachute, reports "BBC".

The plane of the then company JAT (Yugoslav Air Transport) on January 26, 1972 did not arrive at its final destination.

The bomb, planted by unknown assailants on the plane, exploded over then-Czechoslovakia. All but one woman, flight attendant Vesna Vulovic, died.

"That fact is still incredible," Ilia Kukobat, an aviation historian and associate at the Institute of Contemporary History, told the BBC. "There have been cases of people surviving high-altitude falls, such as Soviet and British aviators during World War II, but someone surviving a 10.000-meter drop," he said.


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The plane crash

An investigation in what was then Czechoslovakia showed that a bomb had exploded.

"In the short summary of the report, published by our Federal Civil Aviation Administration, in the regular annual bulletin for regular air accidents, it was written that it was a bomb," Kukobat explained.

The plane crashed when a suitcase exploded leaning against the partition wall of the first trunk, Zlatko Veres, then head of Yugoslav air traffic control and a plane crash expert, told Politika ten years ago.

"Different theories are spreading, because the SFRY leadership never wanted to reveal the name of the man who brought and planted the bomb on the plane, even though it was determined that he was a member of the Croatian extreme emigration," Veres said at the time.

There were other theories - one of which was that members of the Czechoslovak army shot down a plane that was allegedly not allowed to fly on their territory during a military exercise. But they all remain conspiracy theories, they have never been proven.

Vesna Vulovi ја was saved by being left in the back of the plane, which remained relatively untouched. The JAT DC-9 plane crashed in the area of ​​the village of Srpska Kamenica, today's territory of the Czech Republic. Vesna was found by a local forester named Bruno Henke.

"I was cutting down trees in the forest when I heard the explosion. "I ran and saw people flying through the air," he said several years after the crash.


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In the army, as he discovered, he learned how important first aid was, so he helped 22-year-old Vesna.

"When the ambulance arrived, we put the girl on a stretcher and handed her over to the doctors," he added.

The news that Vulovi. Survived the fall of 10.000 meters confused the best medical experts at the time, and the media expressly reported the news.

A miracle was not the right word, a new one had to be devised

In those years, JAT was a favorite employer of young people because of the opportunity to travel around the world and earn decent money, and the competition for training was huge.

After a long recovery, Vesna Vulovi почна started working as a so-called national flight attendant, until her retirement.

Fifty years later, on the official website of the Guinness Book of Records, her name is still written - she survived the fall from the highest height in history.

Because of all this, her case has been attracting a lot of media attention around the world for decades.

How did Vesna Vulovi пре survive?

The fact is that there is no life at 10.000 meters, given that decompression can do great damage… so that surviving is a miracle, experts say.

Neither Luka Popovic, an air traffic expert, can explain today how Vulovic survived the accident. Vulovic said at the time that she was tied to the seat of the plane, which remained attached to the toilets after the explosion and fell on a snow-covered mountain.

According to one of her witnesses, Vesna Vulovi во in Copenhagen, when she got on the plane, noticed that one of her passengers was strange. The man allegedly did not return to the plane and allegedly planted a bomb, but it has not been proven.

"I gave hundreds of interviews, always repeating the same story. After the accident, I was found by the forester Bruno Henke, a former Reich soldier, who with a group of villagers with flashlights searched the area where the plane crashed. Henke's daughter gave birth to a baby girl five months later and gave her my name. "A large monument has been erected at the site of the tragedy," Vesna revealed.


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After the accident, Vulovic was in a coma for several days

She had a skull fracture and later intracerebral haemorrhage. She broke both legs, several ribs, three vertebrae and had a broken pelvis. Due to these injuries she remained paralyzed from the waist down.

Thanks to Czech doctors, especially Dr. Ivo Fusek, who operated on her in Prague, Vesna Vulovic walked again ten months after the fall. She attributed the recovery to "Serbian stubbornness" and childhood nutrition - chocolate, spinach and fish oil.

Vesna became an honorary citizen of Srpska Kamenica, and the President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, awarded her the title of National Hero. Miroslav Ilic, the famous singer of folk music, dedicated the song "Vesna Stewardess" to her. She died in 2016.

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