Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Wings of Hope

Juliane Koepcke 

There was a story in the Science section of the Times ("She Fell Nearly Two Miles and Walked Away," 6/18/21) about a 17 year old, Julian Koepcke who fell l0,000 feet to the earth in the crash of Lansa flight 508 on December 24,1971 over the Amazon and survived. She was still buckled into her seat when she landed. The impact was cushioned by the thick vegetation of the jungle. Koepcke, eventually Juliane Diller, would become a well-known zoologist whose work brought her back to the very area of the crash, which also killed her mother. Some people shoot for the stars and others are headed for the ground. The story of the orphaned child tumbling to earth is a legend you might expect to find recounted in Marquez. Werner Herzog eventually shot a documentary Wings of Hope (1998), which dealt with the incident in which the teenager trudged ll days in the jungle using the knowledge she had gained growing up in a family, where her father was a biologist and her mother an ornithologist, to trace the estuaries and streams to a river which eventually brought her back to civilization. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1981) dealt with the effect an indigenous people of a Coke bottle dropping out of the sky. Talk about UFOs. In The War of the Worlds Orson Welles created mass hysteria when his Mercury Theatre on the Air feigned an alien invasion. Imagine spotting a teenager in an airplane seat twirling in your direction.

Read "What is it Like to Be a Fly," by Francis Levy, HuffPost

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