The laws of physics are weird. You hear all the time about people dying because they fell off of ladders, but then you'll hear about a lady who survived a fall out of an airplane. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, especially considering that these miraculous, one-in-a-million survival stories happen surprisingly often ...
#5. Christine McKenzie Falls Two Miles ... into Power Lines
WARNING: We are about to show you a close-up photo of what was left of a skydiver who plummeted more than two miles straight down with no parachute, then landed on a set of power lines.
"This is the number of fucks I give."
Well ... that wasn't what we were expecting. That surprisingly not-mutilated-beyond-recognition woman is South African Christine McKenzie. She was a veteran skydiver who was on her 112th jump when everything that could possibly go wrong did, save for maybe getting sucked into the jet engine of a passing airliner.
As she was whipping through the air from a height of 11,000 feet, she pulled her ripcord to open the parachute. To her horror, the main chute failed. But, hey, any skydiver knows that's a possibility. That's why you have a reserve chute for backup. So, she released it, and yep, it too failed.
At that point, the sight of the power lines rushing up toward her had to have seemed like part of a cruel prank intended to kill her in the most cartoonish way possible. Yet it was the lines that saved her life. They broke her fall (without electrocuting her in the process) enough that she found herself still alive after flopping to the ground below.
As her jump buddies landed and made their way to her crash site, they feared they would be scraping her charred pancake of a body off the ground. Instead, they were shocked to discover her talking and complaining about her broken bones. She was even cracking jokes while waiting for the rescue helicopter to the hospital. Incredibly, McKenzie suffered only mild bruises and a cracked pelvis.
"I'll fall from three miles up next time. Gravity can suck it."
And speaking of people who should not be alive after encounters with power lines ...
#4. Russian Base Jumper Does a Wile E. Coyote Jump into Snow
In Konakova, Russia, two base jumpers climbed one of those giant high-voltage towers that transmit electricity long distances. We don't want to promote any national stereotypes, so you can decide for yourself whether or not vodka was involved in this decision.
Below we have the video of this jump that went very, very wrong. It would be incredibly disturbing, if we didn't assure you ahead of time that the guy involved miraculously survived:
So, as the unidentified man jumped from the top of the 400-foot-tall tower, his friend filming it for future YouTubing, one immediately notices that his parachute is taking a really long time to open.
"Lookin' good so far!"
"OK, open your chute!"
"Can you hear me? If you can hear me, open your chute!"
This is followed by several awkward, motionless seconds before he turns the camera off.
Yeah, he just straight up hit the ground at full speed. Again: This is from 400 feet. That's 100 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty.
Somehow, this gentleman only broke his vertebrae, pelvis and legs, and didn't shatter into a million Russian base jumper pieces. How? The snow, apparently, was enough to cushion him (you can see the crater he created above). Well, hell, if that's all it takes, why bother with a chute at all? You're not getting soft on us, are you, Russia?
"Hey, how many Battles of Stalingrad did the rest of y'all win? Thought so."
#3. Alan Magee's Fall Is Broken by the Glass Ceiling of a Train Station
During World War II, Air Force Sergeant Alan Magee flew in the B-17 Flying Fortress that ran missions under the call sign "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" That name turned out to be a bit of ominous foreshadowing. One day when the apparently cereal-hungry sergeant was doing bombing runs over Saint-Nazaire, France, one wing of his plane started making all three of those sounds.
"It's either time to die ... or time for breakfast."
That's because a German fighter had managed to get close enough to shoot the wing off of "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" and in the process, also shot Magee in the arm. Even though the plane was in a deadly spin from that whole lack of a wing thing, Magee was able to escape via a swift eject. However, while descending to earth, he discovered that he was having an even worse day than he thought. His parachute was damaged in the German strafing attack. He was in free fall, and there was no water, snow drifts or bouncy power lines waiting below. Rushing up at him was just a big-ass building.
Fortunately for him, relatively speaking, that building was a local train station that had a huge glass ceiling that he promptly crashed through. Magee was injured, but was somehow still alive when the Germans took him into custody. He spent the rest of the war interned in a POW camp.
"I ain't letting no Kraut doctor touch me. Gimme some morphine and a shot of whiskey and I'll be fine."
For many years, it was rumored that he survived the fall because a bomb exploded directly underneath him and its shock wave slowed his plunge. However, in 2006 MythBusters tested out the theory and declared it BUSTED, and that's good enough for us. It is, after all, one of the few times when busting the myth makes it more amazing: All that saved Magee was a split-second pause in his descent caused by crashing through a pane of glass like a goddamned Hollywood stuntman.