A woman survived a fall from 14,500 feet only to be bitten by fire ants. The ants might have saved her life!
Jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane is something many people struggle with, but for skydivers it's the perfect thrill. While the prospect of falling through the air at over 100 mph, then relying on a sheet of nylon material to stop you hitting the ground might sound crazy to many, skydiving is actually a very safe sport.
Thus, when Joan Murray leaped out of her plane on September 25, 1999, she had no idea she was about to become the centre of a miraculous story. Shortly after jumping out of the plane at 14,500 feet, Joan realised the main chute would not open. Less than 15 seconds later, she was travelling at close on 120 mph and would hit the ground less than a minute later if she did not do something.
Skydivers generally carry auxiliary chutes for exactly this kind of situation, thus with scarcely 700 feet to go before impact, Joan deployed her emergency chute. Unfortunately, owing to her spinning around, the chute almost immediately deflated and she hit the ground so hard fillings from her teeth were dislodged.
Amazingly she survived the impact, but was seriously injured. To make matters worse, she had landed on a fire ant nest and was stung over 200 times before help arrived. Ironically, doctors speculate that the fire ant stings had actually served to stimulate her heart and keep her alive until paramedics could stabilise her.
Ten months after her ordeal, Joan was back at work and the following month she once again leaped from a perfectly good aeroplane to complete her 37th skydive, this time landing gently on her feet.