Not many survival stories can rival the miracle
that happened to Marine Lt. Col. William Henry Rankin in 1959. See for yourself: one bad day, this man nearly
drowned — falling from the sky! Um, are you saying that it sounds too paradoxical
to be true? Then, take a seat, I’ll tell you a story… It was July 26, 1959, when Rankin was piloting
his F-8 Crusader, a single-engine supersonic aircraft, along the North Carolina Coast. It was a high-altitude flight, and Rankin,
together with his wingman, Navy Lt. Herbert Nolan, were flying at the height of more than
47,000 ft. Their jets, nicknamed “candy stripers” because
of their unusual orange and silver-gray coloring, were moving through the air smoothly and lightning-fast. The only thing that could cause some trouble
was a storm that was raging far beneath the planes, but now, it didn’t present any threat. However, the pilots were supposed to pass
through this storm on their way to the Marine air base in Beaufort, South Carolina. Things took a turn for the worse when the
aircraft was approximately 9 miles and mere minutes away from the military base. Suddenly, Rankin’s engine quit, and the fire
warning light switched on. Unable to restart the engine that’d lost
all power, the man knew he didn’t have many options. That’s why, desperately trying to keep his
plane from gaining speed and going into a complete nosedive, Rankin radioed his partner,
“Engine failure. I have to eject.” It was a terrifying decision since the altitude
was too extreme, and the Marine didn’t have a pressure suit. The only thing that could help him survive
was an oxygen mask with a limited oxygen supply. In any case, the pilot didn’t have a choice. Without hesitation, he pulled the overhead
handle that triggered the ejection, and in no time, he was in the air, and his plane
disappeared in the clouds below. Now, Rankin was in a free fall at a height
of 40,000 feet, with a temperature of minus 65 degrees F. Usually, sport skydivers make
their jumps from a height of 3,500 to 10,000 ft. Only highly experienced experts jump from
altitudes higher than 15,000 ft. Even then, it can lead to serious complications
if they don’t have all the necessary equipment, including a pressure suit (which, as you remember,
Rankin didn’t have). That means that when the man found himself
in the air at such an unprecedented height, he experienced severe decompression. It felt as if his stomach had increased to
twice its size, and his nose seemed like it was about to explode. His eyes, ears, and mouth started to bleed. For several blood-curdling moments, the Marine
was sure that the decompression would finish him right away. Little did he know, he had a much more severe
trial ahead. Rankin continued falling, and all he could
feel besides all-encompassing fear was the shocking cold. His wrists and ankles were burning as if someone
had put ice directly on his skin. He’d lost one of his gloves while leaving
the plane, and his left hand felt completely numb. And to make matters even worse, he was still
in free fall. Of course, the pilot had a parachute, but
it was supposed to deploy automatically at an altitude of 10,000 ft. And even if Rankin had decided to open it,
he simply wouldn’t have been able to do this. That’s why, in a matter of seconds and at
a dizzying speed, the man hit the very storm he’d been piloting his plane over just minutes
before. And that’s when another calamity happened. Rankin had been falling through the black
clouds with almost no visibility for about five minutes, surrounded by lightning, rain,
hail, and violent winds, when something went wrong with the barometer that was supposed
to deploy his parachute automatically. Fooled by the violent weather raging around
the Marine, it triggered prematurely, and the man got stuck in the very middle of a
thunderstorm. But it wasn’t just any old thunderstorm. Nope, the unlucky 39-year-old fighter pilot
plunged straight into a cumulonimbus cloud. These clouds, which often look like huge puffy
mushrooms, are incredibly dense and tend to appear in areas where the atmosphere is extremely
unstable. Also, such clouds are vertical, and the peaks
of the most monstrous ones can reach the height of 70,000 ft! The taller the cumulonimbus cloud is, the
more unstable and violent it is inside. That was the circumstance Rankin ended up
in after his parachute opened too early. Conversely, even if his parachute had deployed
at the supposed altitude of 10,000 ft, the man would still have been sucked back up into
the cloud with the updraft. In any case, the pilot didn’t have time to
dwell on this. His body was tossed about as if he was nothing
more than a rag doll. He would hit the fabric of his parachute,
fall back down, and repeat this cycle again. The tossing was so bad, that even the experienced
fighter pilot felt seasick. Lightning snapped and crackled around Rankin,
and even though he didn’t hear the thunder per se, he could feel it vibrating through
his body. The hailstones were so big that at some moments,
Rankin worried they would tear his parachute. But the worst happened when the pilot was
falling through the rain – for several terrifying moments, the man was sure that he would drown. He was trying to take a breath, but only breathed
in mouthfuls of water. If he’d stayed in that region of the storm
for any longer, drowning while falling through the air would’ve become a frighteningly
real outcome. He tried to hold his breath, but it was a
very dangerous thing to do while falling at breakneck speed. Meanwhile, Rankin was also blown up and down,
sometimes as much as 5,000 ft at a time. It seemed to him like he’d been falling
for ages, with blasts of compressed air hitting him the whole time. Fortunately, not only good things, but bad
ones too, tend to come to an end. When Rankin finally reached the bottom of
the cumulonimbus tower, he’d been inside for more than 40 agonizing minutes. The pilot was shocked to discover that he
was relatively unscathed, the lightning hadn’t grazed him, his parachute was in one piece,
and he hadn’t drowned in the rainwater. The only thing he had to worry about now was
a safe landing. At first, Rankin was going down toward a clearing,
but his bad luck continued, because, at the last moment, a powerful gust of wind threw
him into a tree. The parachute got tangled in the branches,
and the pilot hit his head on the trunk. Luckily, he was still wearing his helmet and
didn’t lose consciousness. After freeing himself and staggering to his
feet, the pilot limped through the forest until he found a country road. But hitching a ride turned out to be a tough
task. Imagine a man, standing on the side of the
road, covered in blood and dressed in a soaked, ripped up flight suit. No wonder there weren’t many volunteers
to give him a lift. But eventually, someone picked him up and
drove to a payphone where Rankin managed to call for an ambulance. There, he found out what a lucky man he really
was. He had countless bruises and welts scattered
all over his body, he suffered from bad decompression effects, and he had frostbite. But other than that, the ordeal didn’t leave
any long term damage. Rankin spent several weeks in the hospital
and made a complete recovery. Later, he wrote the book “The Man Who Rode
the Thunder” where he described his experience. If you know other incredible survival stories,
let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give
this video a like and share it with a friend. But – hey! – don’t go bail out on me just
yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to
check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right
video, click on it, and enjoy! Stay on the Bright Side of life!

A Man Who Survived Drowning in the Sky

100 thoughts on “A Man Who Survived Drowning in the Sky

  • October 6, 2019 at 11:45 am
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    The inspiration behind the phrase "HappyEnding" 😅🤣😂😂

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    They was moving lightning fast at the speed of sound

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  • October 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm
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    My hat's off to you sir… You lived more in those few minutes than most do in a life time

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm
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    The thumbnail ruined my childhood😂
    Who else dreamt of walking on clouds

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:08 pm
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    WOW~ THAT'S SO AMAZING

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:09 pm
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    90 % of people just post whatever lol 😂 with hopes they get likes…

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:16 pm
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    TIMESTAMPS:

    "Engine failure. I have to eject." 0:24

    Decompression 1:46

    … wasn't the worst thing 2:53

    Falling through the black clouds 3:26

    Is it possible to drown in the sky? 5:07

    How he landed 6:27

    …and what happened to him next 7:07

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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    Truly a life changing experience

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    I survived a last second deuce in my pants. I was driving and a wave hit me. I knew it was only minutes before there would be an explosion in my pants. I found a McDonald's and luckily no one was on da toilet. I ran in and even before I sat down it started coming out. Needless to say there was an explosion on da toilet dat day

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:26 pm
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    Sounds less like an incredible survival story and more like a poor choice on a pilot's part. Why not glide the plane to a safer altitude? At that altitude a fire couldn't spread quickly so he should have known not to trust that warming. Hmm.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:27 pm
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    Amazing story

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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    On a scale of zero to ten, how much are you afraid of heights? 😉 (My answer would be 10)

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:32 pm
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    What a story 😬

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm
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    That's just sad and luck

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:45 pm
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    8

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:54 pm
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    I survived a bee sting.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 12:55 pm
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    If surviving is an Art, This man is the Piccaso of it. Isn't it?
    |
    |
    /

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  • October 6, 2019 at 1:07 pm
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    6:55
    Dem eyes tho

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:12 pm
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    Was the sky the ocean?

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:20 pm
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    Unbelievable

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:24 pm
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    Why Franklin's head looking like a pistol bullet🔫

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  • October 6, 2019 at 1:26 pm
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    God bless this man.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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    That Russian woman who fell 7 miles without a parachute bounced twice and lived!

    The truly amazing thing about that storm he fell through was that it was a small one

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:36 pm
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    His own stupidity!!! All he had to do was wait until his plane was 10K and then eject.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:40 pm
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    Your crush will ask you out tomorrow.

    Like to activate

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:41 pm
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    Scary 🙏🏻

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:45 pm
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    I was recently near that airbase they were heading to land at

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:48 pm
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    If ur over 8
    👇hit that

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 1:52 pm
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    Do you like drawing when you do tap
    👈👈👈 here

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm
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    The students who completed their studies…. 😂
    ➡ There were very high pressure situations during exams…
    ➡ Lack of sleep, fatigue and sometime high illness…
    Etc…. Anybody Suggest more content..

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:24 pm
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    Plz do a face reveal

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:30 pm
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    You get likes from this so

    ~Me 2019

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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    why wouldnt the person drive him to the hospital then to the pay phone.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:44 pm
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    Why he looking like Stan from American Dad

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:54 pm
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    Fun FACT : EARTH IS NOT FLAT

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:55 pm
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    I learned about this in school -_-

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 2:56 pm
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    Legend says BRIGHT SIDE will heart this comment

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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    Afraid of heights: 3

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:01 pm
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    I have an idea you should make a video about someone in 9-11

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:14 pm
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    To all those reading this comment , I hope all your wishes and dreams come true.
    My wish is to get 1000 subscribers before this year ends. Any sub would be massively appreciated.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm
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    That might not be true

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:40 pm
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    I want to see bright sides face reveal who agrees

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:50 pm
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    Seems kind of neglegent, not caring about a war plane free falling into someone or someone's house on the ground…

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:54 pm
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    Landing on a cloud is not possible

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm
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    My answer would be 5 feet

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:00 pm
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    How can a person drown in mid air?

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:02 pm
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    That is awsome

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:12 pm
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    Yo bless are you here

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm
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    Interesting

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm
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    Interesting

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm
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    Can you please make a vedio on string kinda theory ,I mean string theory

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 4:48 pm
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    And humans still look down on others. While nature look down on us.

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 5:12 pm
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    Gifting my next 50 subs❤️

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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    me when i go on the most scary rollercoaster of my life

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm
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    Wow

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 6:23 pm
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    Dang. That is EPIC!

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 6:34 pm
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    We love your video 😍

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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    he should have glided the plane and land

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 6:50 pm
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    If this is blue you love BRIGHTSIDE🌟

    👇(I’m gifting my next 10 subscribers🤩)

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:09 pm
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    Permanently scared

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:10 pm
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    Scary! 👻

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:14 pm
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    Why he eject that high altitude…simply he suppose to eject at low

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:27 pm
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    Eres GENIAL?

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 7:33 pm
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    HoLy sh**. 40 minutes free falling?!

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 8:21 pm
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    what an unlucky man ?
    who agree with me ?
    👇

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 8:33 pm
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    wow that poor guy! but the cartoon makes it look funny

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 9:12 pm
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    Please sub I am a very small Chanel I am cracked in fortnite 😀😀😀

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 9:31 pm
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    One of my great uncles was a navy pilot and while out on a test flight his plane malfunctioned, so he ejected, but his leg was cut off by the tail wing. The found him in a tree unconscious with a belt tied around the rest of his leg, they said he’d never fly again, but he’s had a private plane he flies to this day

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 9:36 pm
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    Why does his head look like bread lol👏👍🤣

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 10:05 pm
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    Well drowning from water in air hmm now idk what to expect

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 10:18 pm
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    Wow, great video!

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 10:35 pm
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    For a channel with so many subs bring in so few views (by comparison)

    Reply
  • October 6, 2019 at 11:56 pm
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    great love it

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 2:27 am
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    How traumatic! The story telling was almost comical. Oh my goodness. I'm glad he made a good recovery. I wonder if he's still around.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 2:35 am
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    When it was on the plane we saw it when he jumped tricker

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 4:18 am
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    Wow… thats crazy… it had to be so scary.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 8:57 am
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    Rankin still smiling even he's in the hospital.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 9:16 am
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    Whoaa

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 9:20 am
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    Yes I know a story. I knew a man that watched a video of another man failing threw the sky. The video was horrific but the man watched it calming, didn't even hide under the covered, faint or scream. One day someone will tell the story of this man, and maybe he will even write a book about it 🙂

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 11:11 am
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    Awesome story .

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 11:43 am
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    I was once married

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 11:59 am
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    What is the backround music called at 1:12 to 1:49

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 1:50 pm
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    Your facts on skydiving are not even close to true. I have over 2 thousand jumps….there are 65 year old women who have over 20 thousand jumps and still going. We do normal jumps from 18 thousand feet everyday. If he ejected from 47k feet. His total freefal time would have been 2 mins max. The 3 guys who jumped from 130k feet freefell for over 4 minutes……this pilot would not have freefell for 5 mins like you claim. Lots of your vids have very wrong stats. Plus a pressure suit isn't needed for 47k feet. Only above 65k feet do you really need a pressure suit. I've jumped from 30k feet several times with just supplemental O2 which this pilot had.

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 3:40 pm
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    Bruh he just drank a water breathing potion

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 3:50 pm
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    Someone
    Idk who he is
    A lightning hit his arm and chopped it
    And another one hit is other arm and chopped it
    And the last one hit him on his back
    He survived

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 4:34 pm
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    nice animation thou . big question is that true?

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 7:26 pm
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    This sounds like it was one bad luck scenario after another, and he still survived! As the video was telling the story during his initial ejection from his jet at the ridiculously high altitude and freezing cold I was thinking to myself "he's just gotta hang in there…" then I realized they mentioned a storm earlier in the video… Yep, there's a storm cloud… With lightening, hail, rain so heavy you can barely breathe, and terrifying winds… And he was being tossed around in that cloud for 40 minutes!!! Then to top it off, after finally getting out of that mess, he gets caught in some tree branches. Well, at least he had a helmet, didn't get hit by lightening, made it to the ground, and managed to eventually get a ride and get medical attention. What a day… So how was your day at work?

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 9:39 pm
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    30 mil holyyy shiiiiiiii

    Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 11:38 pm
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    His chin looks weird

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 1:50 am
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    Jesus christ that fall took forever

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 5:50 am
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    Whoa 😱.. What a freaking story

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 6:12 am
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    His face looks like a slice of bread 😅

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 7:11 am
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    I fell from a pothole, and I'm still alive…

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 8:56 am
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    Anta channel onnu subscribe cheyamo njan therichu subscribe cheyam please

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 10:38 am
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    Bright Side please do a video on Mineraft

    Reply
  • October 8, 2019 at 5:49 pm
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    He has my last name😂💯

    Reply

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