Survivors after fall with chute failed to open

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by seesul, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Hi,
    when I was a kid I heard about few cases when pilot or paratrooper survived the fall with parachute failed to open, I mean during WW2 only.
    Does anyone has a story or a link of such a event?
     
  2. Ramirezzz

    Ramirezzz Member

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    in 1942 a navigator of the Il-4 named I.M. Chisov survived a 6605 meter fall out of his plane with no parachute
     
  3. eddie_brunette

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    Some more.....

    Free Fallers The Free Fallers are the most amazing stories of all. They didn't deploy a parachute. They didn't cling to aircraft wreckage. They just fell. All were World War II airmen. Lt. I.M. Chisov, Sgt. Alan Magee, and Sgt. Nicholas Alkemade all fell at least 18,000 feet.

    There are some other examples of airmen who fell significant distances and survived (see Other Amazing Stories), but none of those airmen fell nearly as far as these three. Chisov, Magee, and Alkemade are in a class by themselves.


    Notable Free Fallers I.M. Chisov Lt. I.M. Chisov was a Russian airman whose Ilyushin IL-4 bomber was attacked by German fighters in January of 1942. Falling nearly 22,000 feet, he hit the edge of a snow-covered ravine and rolled to the bottom. He was badly hurt but survived.
    Alan Magee Alan Magee, a gunner on a B-17 with the 303rd Bomb Group of the U.S. 8th Air Force, was on a mission to St. Nazaire, France in January of 1943, when his bomber was set aflame by enemy fire. He was thrown from the plane before he had a chance to put on his parachute. He fell 20,000 feet and crashed onto* the skylight of the St. Nazaire train station. His arm was badly injured, but he recovered from that and other injuries.
    *At first the descriptions of the incident made it appear that he had fallen through the skylight but it appears now that he hit the angled skylight and landed on the roof of the train station. We continue to investigate. See this link for a filmmaker's take on Magee's fall.
    Nicholas Alkemade In March of 1944, Nicholas Alkemade was the tail gunner in a British Lancaster bomber on a night mission to Berlin when his plane was attacked by German fighters. When the captain ordered the crew to bail out, Alkemade looked back into the plane and discovered that his parachute was in flames. He chose to jump without a parachute rather than to stay in the burning plane. He fell 18,000 feet, landing in trees, underbrush, and drifted snow. He twisted his knee and had some cuts, but was otherwise alright.


    New Additions While the stories of Chisov, Magee, and Alkemade are exceptional, other stories are coming to light and will be added to the web site as time allows. For example:
    Olen Cooper Bryant Olen Cooper Bryant was the group navigator on a 485th Bomb Group mission to Regensburg, Germany in February of 1945. On the return trip from the target his B-24 was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire in the #3 engine. The aircraft turned to the left and collided with another B-24 in the formation. The aircraft were at an altitude of about 17,000 feet at this point. Bryant fell an estimated 10,000 feet into the mountains near Chiusaforte, Italy. He landed in deep snow. His fall had been observed by two gunners, who dragged him down the side of the mountain in a makeshift stretcher constructed from one of their parachutes. Bryant suffered neck, back, pelvic, and facial injuries but survived.
     
  4. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I believe a Luftwaffe pilot from JG 5 also bailed with no pararchute or so damaged it was useless and survived falling into heavy snow on a mountain. Will check.
     
  5. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Thanks friends for interesting stories!
    I remember one TV document where one pilot told his story that after bailing out his chute failed to open and he hit the only one tree that was in the surrounding area and survived. But can´t tell now if he was a WW2 vet...
    Thanks again!
     
  6. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Wasn't there a Stewardess on a plane that survived a fall from something like 25K ft? She was blown out of the aircraft when the plane blew up and survived.

    I think she may've even been from the Check Republic (back when it was behind the Iron Curtain).
     
  7. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    True.. She made guniess book of records for that one
     
  8. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Yep, you´re right. She stayed all the fall belted in the seat. If I am not wrong, she lives few miles away from me...will check it out later...

    Here I was wrong, it happened over Czechoslovakia in 70´s, but she was a Yugoslavian...
     
  9. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    These are people that have used up a life time of luck in one moment! I would have had a heart attack, a stroke, and pooped my pants (not in that order).
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Not exactly in the same vein but I have to find the story of a Western Front/Reichs Defense pilot that when he was shot down, bailed out and actually landed in his parent's garden! Gotta find it!
     
  11. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    just found it:

    Falling 22,000 Feet - And NO Chute!

    Alan Magee ranked among the luckiest of those who served in the Air Corps during World War II. A B-17 ball turret gunner, Magee had no choice but to jump out of a disabled, spinning-out-of-control bomber from about 22,000 feet without a parachute...and miraculously lived.

    His incredible story was featured in a Smithsonian Magazine on the 10 most amazing survivals during World War II. Magee seldom spoke of that death-defying drop. He died 60 years later of complications from a stroke and kidney failure in San Angelo, Texas. His niece described her uncle as "just a regular guy." "He didn't like to talk about it...then he wouldn't dwell on it," the niece said.

    "One of the people who saw him fall through the glass roof of the railroad station tracked Alan down. Before that, Alan wasn't interested in discussing this."However, he did mention: "God was certainly looking out for me."

    Magee, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. The youngest of six children, he enlisted after the Pearl Harbor attack. He was 5-foot-7...and just barely small enough to fitin the B-17's ball turret...a cramped, donut-shaped plexiglas and metal turret on thebomber's underside. It was a tight fit - a gunner's knees were practically against his chest- that Magee had to leave his parachute up on the (flight) deck of his four-engine Flying Fortress.

    "His ball turret offered a panoramic view, but it was also a vulnerable target for (the attacking) German fighter planes. And there was a high casualty rate among B-17 gunners," said Don Jenkins, Magee's friend of 38 years and a World War II Navy veteran." He was very easy to get along with - very cheerful, very talkative and a verysweet person," Jenkins said. But, he said, in all those years, Magee only spoke to him three times about the incredible events taking place on January 3, 1943.

    Sgt. Magee, 24, was one of the oldest of the 10-man crew who flew out of Molesworth,England, on a bomber nicknamed "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" His pilot was only 19. His seventh mission was a daylight bombing run on St. Nazaire, France, called "Flak City" because of the many anti-aircraft guns defending the German's submarine pens.On that day, his 303rd Bomb Group had sent 85 B17s with fighter escorts.

    Over the target area, flak damaged Magee's plane...then German fighters shot off a section of his aircraft's right wing. Magee, who was wounded, scrambled out of his restrictive ball turret, and up on to the flight deck where he noticed his parachute was ruined. "He saw a gap in the side of the spinning plane and jumped out," said Jenkins,who explained that in the confusion Magee forgot he wasn't wearing a chute. "He remembered tumbling, but at that high altitude, he quickly lost consciousness from lack of oxygen.

    Eyewitnesses saw Magee's body crash through the Nazaire train station's glass skylight - breaking his fall. When he regained consciousness, Magee said to his German captors: "Thank God I'm alive."

    Magee's injuries included 28 shrapnel wounds - a punctured lung and kidney - nose and one eye ripped open - right arm nearly severed from his body - a broken right leg and ankle. The Germans decided that anyone who could so miraculously survive deserved "real special medical attention." With the doctors' high priority assistance, Magee fully recovered.

    In total, 75 U.S. airmen were killed that day, 7 Fortresses were shot down - forty-seven damaged. Two other members of Magee's crew survived. McGee was a prisoner of war until May 1945. He received the Air Medal for meritorious conduct and the Purple Heart. "Alan was never the type to look in the past," said his friend. Despite the harrowing experience, Magee still loved to fly airplanes and earned his private pilot's license. He lived for the enjoyment of each moment - did a lot of walking and backpacking, and led a pretty good life.

    On Jan. 3, 1993, Magee and the other two crew members were guests of the St. Nazaire,France townspeople. They hosted a banquet and erected a six-foot-tall memorial to salute the flight crew of Snap! Crackle! Pop! "He was very excited and honored," Jenkins said.

    Magee is survived by his wife, Helen; a sister, Adele; six nieces and three nephews. A celebration of Alan Magee's life will be held this Spring.



    By Paul Logan
    Journal Staff Writer (edited/abridged)

    America's Greatest Generation: Army Heroes Air Corps: Alan E. MaGee
     
  12. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    Here´s the story Edie mentioned:

    This is Sergeant Roy Keen's account

    In 1944, Roy was flying with 166 Squadron, from RAF Kirmington near Grimsby (today Humberside Airport). On 24 March, flying in Lancaster III ND620/AS-I, he was shot down on a raid to Berlin. One of 44 Lancasters lost that night, his was one story from over three hundred downed...


    "In Stalagluft 3 I met a guy who was shot down the night before me, but he jumped out without a parachute. The night we were shot down was very snowy, and he fell through trees into a snowdrift. When I met him he'd just got a bit of sticky plaster over one of his eyebrows!"
    Flight Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade jumped from his Lancaster at 18,000 feet to escape the holocaust of his blazing bomber, leaving behind his useless parachute that had been torn to shreds by shrapnel. His headlong fall was broken by a fir tree and he finally landed in an eighteen inch snow-drift, without a single fracture. Naturally, the Luftwaffe authorities were highly suspicious of his story of falling from such a height without a parachute, but on investigation they found his shredded and unused ‘chute in the crashed remains of the aircraft. Tail gunners had to stash their 'chutes inside the fuselage, and when Alkemade opened the rear hatch of his turret, he found flames raging inside the plane and his only means of escape a blazing mass of silk. Faced with the choice of falling to his death or burning to a crisp, he rotated the turret and did a back somersault into space, 18,000 feet above Germany. Falling at speeds of up to 120mph, it would have taken him about two minutes to hit the ground. He was fantastically lucky. First, he blacked out during the fall, ensuring his body would not be dangerously rigid and tense on impact. Second, he fell into a dense pine forest, whose branches broke his fall, and then into a deep snowdrift. He survived with nothing worse than a somewhat twisted ankle. Alkemade's case is particularly well-researched because the Germans who found him discovered that his parachute harness had not been used and suspected him of being a spy. A Luftwaffe probe, involving an investigation of the crashed bomber, proved the airman's story, and Alkemade was shipped off into captivity. He survived the war and eventually passed away on 22 June 1987.
    Read obout it using the link below

    www.f4aviation.co.uk
     
  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Remarkably lucky people!
     
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