Vesna Vulovic, 66, a Serbian flight attendant who miraculously survived a plunge from 33,000 feet after her plane exploded in midair in 1972, has died.
Serbia's state TV said Saturday that Ms. Vulovic was found dead by her friends in her apartment in Belgrade. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Ms. Vulovic was working as a Yugoslav Airlines flight attendant on Jan. 26, 1972, when the Douglas DC-9 airliner she was aboard blew up high above the snowy mountain ranges of Czechoslovakia. All 27 other passengers and crew aboard perished.
Ms. Vulovic entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1985 for "the highest fall survived without a parachute." It was suspected that a bomb was planted inside the jet during a scheduled stopover in Copenhagen, Denmark, but no arrests were ever made.
Trapped in the plane's tail cone, she plummeted to earth in subfreezing temperatures and landed on a steep, heavily wooded slope near a village. The fuselage tumbled through pine branches and into a thick coating of snow, softening the impact and cushioning its descent down the hill, crash investigators said at the time.
Ms. Vulovic was rescued by a woodsman who followed her screams in the dark forest. She was rushed to a hospital, where she fell into a coma for 10 days. She had a fractured skull, two crushed vertebrae, and a broken pelvis, ribs, and legs.
Initially paralyzed from the waist down, she eventually made a near-full recovery and even returned to work for the airline in a desk job. She never regained memory of the accident or her rescue. - AP