Last week when I should have been working on the proposal for my second novel I surfed the net for a bit. OK, maybe longer than ‘a bit’. Perhaps ‘a spell’ or more accurately, perhaps several hours. Nonetheless, while aimlessly wandering around cyberspace I came upon one of those strange yet fascinating web sites which draw one’s attention.
This is the site: The Free Fall Research Page
It is a large collection of documented stories (no pun intended) of people who have fallen from a great height and survived. I wasn’t sure about this so I picked this one out and Googled and I’ll be damned if it didn’t turn out to be true.
Near the villages of Pradlo and Nepomuk, Czech Republic: In February of 1944, Ray Noury was a radio operator flying as a right waist gunner on a B-24 mission to Regensberg, Germany when the aircraft was hit by flak after the bomb run. Slowed by the damage, the B-24 was attacked by German fighters. The right outside engine was burning as Noury attempted to help the ball turret gunner out of his jammed turret. The aircraft exploded before Noury had a chance to fully attach his parachute. Noury fell an estimated 15,000 feet with a tattered and ineffective parachute, hit a ski slope, and slid about half a mile. A wedding party saw the incident and searched for survivors, but did not discover Noury until the following day. Everyone else on the crew died. After a short hospital stay Noury was sent to a prisoner of war camp.
The only thing Ray could hold onto while he was free-falling was his crucifix and held on he did. He thinks it was a miracle from the Almighty that saved his life. I would have to agree. I mean, he fell from fifteen-thousand feet and survived!
His hometown paper, The Pawtuckett Times, has an article about Ray and I’ve included a clip below from a Catholic TV show which recently interviewed him.