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Juliane Koepcke was flying with her mother and ninety other passengers on Christmas Eve, 1971, when lightning struck, causing an extensive structural failure of the Lockheed Electra.
Juliane fell out of the broken airplane into the Peruvian jungle. She was seventeen years old, wearing her Catholic confirmation dress and white high heels. Miraculously, she suffered only cuts and a broken collarbone from the crash. Later, she reported feeling "a hefty concussion." Then she was falling toward the jungle.
Peruvian Jungle, Christmas Eve 1971
She walked for eleven days through dense jungle while being literally eaten alive by leeches and strange tropical insects, which bored into her, laid their eggs, and produced worms that hatched and tunneled out through her skin.
Eventually, she came to a hut along the banks of the river she'd been following. She staggered and collapsed inside.
It was Juliane's good fortune that three hunters turned up the next day
and delivered her to a local doctor.
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