Free Falling

A falling person reaches a top speed of around 120 mph. After that, all falls are equally dangerous: If you survive the lack of oxygen, a fall of 10,000 feet won’t necessarily hurt you any more than 2,000 feet.

During World War II, at least three airmen survived free falls of around 20,000 feet without a parachute. All three lost consciousness, and two of them landed in deep snow.

In 1972, a Yugoslavian flight attendant fell from 33,330 feet when terrorists blew up her DC-9 over Czechoslovakia. She broke both legs and was paralyzed from the waist down, but only temporarily.