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I’m Not Afraid of the Height; I’m Afraid of the Fall!!

The Nepalese Window Washers Of Doha
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When I was a kid, my father thought it would be a great idea to save some money by having my brother and I paint our two-story house. And this wasn’t like today’s two story houses this was what would probably be a three story house by today’s standards. Standing on a 2 x 10 board hung between two ladders still wakes me up in a cold sweat to this day. Thankfully I never fell off that ladder and I’ve also been easily able to resist the lure of rock climbing all these years. But there are some folks who have not only survived two story falls but also survived falls from great heights.

Window Washing Is Dangerous

Chris Saggers, a British window washer, was 22 floors up when he lost his balance and plummeted to earth. When he landed he got up, brushed himself off and told bystanders he was fine. He wasn’t. Landing on the roof of a car had left him with a broken elbow. Workman’s Comp anyone?

Flying Safest Form of Transportation?

Surviving a fall from a plane is amazing enough but it’s no picnic if you land in the jungles of Peru. That’s what happened to 17-year-old Juliane Diller. Her flight ran into an extreme thunderstorm that ejected her and her seat into the Peruvian Rain Forest.

She suffered a broken collarbone, a deep gash in her arm and a swollen eye. She knew she would surely die unless she could find a village or town. She followed a river for ten days before finding a boat and some gas. She used some of the gas to extract the maggots from her wound. She stayed with the boat for an additional ten hours because she thought stealing it might be wrong.

You Only Need A Parachute To Sky Dive Twice

Shayna Richardson might want to rethink her boyfriend choice. She was taking a free-fall course taught by her boyfriend and was ready to make her first solo jump at 10,000 feet. She was reaching speeds of 50 mph when her main chute failed and her reserve didn’t fully deploy either. She hit asphalt face-first and was rushed to the hospital. She had a shattered skull and pelvis. At the hospital Richardson discovered that she was pregnant. Mother and baby both went on to make a full recovery.

Some Final Thoughts

Obviously these stories are the exception rather than the rule. Most people will die from a 50-60 foot fall. But sometimes for unknown reasons fate steps in and makes us all shake our heads and wonder why some are “lucky” while others have run out of luck.

Some would say, “It just wasn’t their time to go.” I guess there is some truth in that. We never know when our time will come or how but to these survivors life has to be just a little sweeter and each day is very welcome gift.

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