Juliane Koepcke was just 17 years old when she boarded the ill-fated LANSA Flight 508 from Lima to Pucallpa, Peru, on December 24, 1971, to visit her father. The plane was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, causing it to break apart mid-air. Juliane fell approximately 3,000 meters still strapped to her seat and landed in the dense Amazon rainforest.
Miraculously, she survived the fall, but with a broken collarbone, a deep gash on her arm, and her right eye swollen shut. She managed to extract herself from the wreckage and found a small stream where she could drink water. Despite being barefoot and wearing only a mini dress, she began walking and navigating the dense jungle.
For the next 11 days, Juliane survived alone in the Amazon rainforest, subsisting on small fruits, insects, and rainwater. Her injuries, hunger, and the dangerous creatures of the jungle did not stop her from fighting for survival. She fashioned a small shelter from branches and leaves to protect herself from the rain and used her knowledge of the forest to avoid predators such as jaguars and venomous snakes.
On the eleventh day, Juliane was found by local loggers who had followed her footprints. She was rescued and taken to a nearby village where she received medical attention. Later, she was airlifted to a hospital in Pucallpa where she was reunited with her father.
Juliane’s survival story quickly gained worldwide attention and made headlines around the world. She became a symbol of hope and resilience in the face of adversity. In the years following the crash, Juliane went on to become a zoologist and studied the flora and fauna of the rainforest.
Today, Juliane continues to share her story and inspire others with her incredible tale of survival. Her story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the will to survive against all odds.