Untold Stories: Juliane Koepcke

Juliane Koepcke was a 17 year old high school senior when she fell from the sky.

She was flying with her mother to meet her dad when their plane was struck by lightning and broke apart. Still strapped to her seat, Koepcke plummeted from the sky and crash landed…straight into the Amazon rainforest.

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She awoke alone in the dark depths of the rainforest, still in her seat.

She had a concussion, one eye was swollen completely shut, with a gaping gash in her arm.

She looked for her mother but could not find anyone else from her flight. So she picked up the candy that had fallen from the airplane with her and started to search for water.

She knew that her only chance of survival was to find other people. Her dad had taught her that people often made villages along the water, so she knew she had to follow water downstream.

She crashed through the underbrush until she found a small creek. She followed it until it became part of a larger stream, followed that, and so on.

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She waded through piranha and leech infested waters, avoiding the man eating crocodiles that swam alongside her.

She pushed herself to keep walking. She refused to give up or accept defeat.

Her wounds became infected and she had no gear or food. But Koepke doggedly continued walking, injured and bleeding for 11 days!

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Finally, she came across a makeshift logging camp and collapsed on the floor.

The loggers had few medical supplies – they poured gasoline on her wounds to disinfect them. After a 7 hour canoe trip to the nearest town, she was airlifted out of the wilderness.

She made it out of there alive.

This badass woman was the only member of that flight to survive and she did it injured, completely alone, in one of the deadliest places on earth.

Koepcke grew up to get her PhD in zoology. Her autobiography, Als ich vom Himmel fiel (When I Fell From the Sky) came out in March 2011.

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