The woman who fell to Earth

Juliane Köpcke 17

Rewind to the 1970’s. It was 1971, when Juliane Köpcke survived one of the most unbelievable plane crashes of all time. Juliane was the only survivor to literally walk away from this horrific crash. On board, there were a total of 92 passengers and crew. Juliane at the time was just 17 years old, she is a German-Peruvian biologist who was born in Peru to German expatriates.

The LANSA (Líneas Aéreas Nacionales S. A. (Peru) LiLockheed Electra OB-R-941 plane departed from Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. It was during Christmas eve when the flight was scheduled to journey to Pucallpa, Peru. Half an hour into the flight (while the plane was 21,000 feet in the air) the plane encountered heavy turbulence.

The pilots had extreme difficultly trying to maintain control of the aircraft. With no luck leveling the plane, the right wing separated from the plane first and afterward the left. The cause of this crash was assumed to be from both human error, structural failure and lightning bolts which hit the plane.


The plane was broken into pieces while it was mid-air. The aircraft came crashing down into the mountainous regions of the Amazon. Juliane fell to the ground still strapped to her seat. Her descent was an astounding 10,000 feet. There is no reason Juliane Köpcke should have walked away from this, other than some sort of divine intervention from her guardian angel. Certainly there was a supernatural force which helped keep her alive.

Juliane Köpcke was devastated, tired and hungry. She searched for her mother, but alias she gave up eventually. She then proceeded to wander through the jungle for nine days looking for help. It was on the 9th day when she found a canoe and shelter to use.

Juliane Köpcke at crash site

Local lumberjacks by luck or spiritual guidance found her. These men took her from this location (which lasted 7 hours) in a canoe ride down the river. They reached a lumber station and there she was taken to a hospital by helicopter. Juliane Köpcke is now working as a successful biologist in Germany. Her story still inspires others. There has been a documentary and book made about her incredible story. She did return to the crash site later.


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