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When I Fell from the Sky: The True Story of One Woman's Miraculous Survival
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When I Fell from the Sky: The True Story of One Woman's Miraculous Survival

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  291 ratings  ·  51 reviews
She was 17-years-old on a Christmas Eve flight 40 years ago to join her father for Christmas when the unimaginable happened. The Lockheed L-188A Electra, on the way from Lima to Pucallpa, flew directly into a thunderstorm. A strike of lightning left the plane incinerated and Juliane Diller (Koepcke) still strapped to her plane seat falling through the night air two miles a ...more
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Titletown Publishing, LLC (first published January 1st 2011)
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68th out of 153 books — 269 voters
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Community Reviews

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Story is about a woman who writes about how she survived 11 days in the jungle when the plane she was on crashed. It is told like she is speaking to you and jumps from the present day to the time when she was in the jungle. At some times it seems awkward but by writing in this way, the reader is able to get an understanding of what her life was like before the crash, background on her parents, what she did in the jungle for those days, after the crash, and the present. I thoroughly enjoyed the b ...more
The true story a the German/Peruvian 17 year old who was the only survivor of a plane that crashed in Peru while crossing the Andes at Christmas time. She lost her mother in the accident which also claimed 90 other lives. Juliane tells her own story 40 years after the crash and her amazing eleven day journey out of the Peruvian rain forest. It is also a story of her love of the jungle where she had been raised with her German zoologist parents and her struggle for survival of the Amazonian rain ...more
Bereits als Kind übte diese einzigartige Überlebensgeschichte der damals 17jährigen Juliane Koepcke eine große Faszination auf mich aus. Am 24. Dezember 1971 gerät das Flugzeug, in dem sie gemeinsam mit ihrer Mutter sitzt, in schwere Turbulenzen. Es stürzt ab und Juliane trudelt festgeschnallt an ihrem Sitz tausende Meter in die Tiefe, um im peruanischen Dschungel bruchzulanden. Verletzt und ohne Kontakt zu anderen Passagieren und Menschen sucht sie den Weg zum Fluss, um dort auf Hilfe zu stoßen ...more
Jean Poulos
This is a memoir of a gripping account of survival by a seventeen year old girl. On Christmas Eve 1971, seventeen year old Juliane Koepcke and her mother were flying from Lima to Pucallpa, when the LANSA Lockheed Electra, LANSA flight 508 commercial airliner with ninety passages on board broke up in midair. The plane was struck by lightning during a freak storm and tore off one side of the plane. There was only one survivor. Turned out that plane should have never flown near the Andes. Lockheed ...more
Deborah Dicks
I struggled a bit with this one. It is of course, a fascinating story - how a 17 year old girl suvived a fall from a plane 2 miles in the sky and made it through the Amazon jungle back to safety on her own. But the writer's style is jarring. For example, she has a peculiar and annoying habit of starting a sentence at the end of a chapter and leaving it incomplete; it is only in the next chaper, after its title, that the author finishes the sentence. This felt contrived and unnessessary.

Although repititive, this book does entertain and inform. The author's passion for the "jungle" and for saving Panguana is obvious and contagious. Told mostly from the perspective of the adult Juliane, the recounting of her fall serves mainly to link the past with her present drive to preserve this biosphere. It's interesting to see the family connection to science and how that has obviously passed on to her as well as her parent's qualities of endurance. Read this book to be inspired to more gr ...more
The actual story of the crash makes up only a portion of this book, but the background of Koepcke's family and childhood, the aftermath of the crash, and her subsequent return are also interesting aspects of her story, so I didn't mind. The fact that she survived a fall of 2 miles, and didn't immediately get eaten by some wild Amazon animal was apparently story enough for me! Though, I am happy that I learned something, just in case I am trapped on the floor of the rainforest - follow fast movin ...more
I had been waiting for this book to be released, having heard about Juliane's story from a friend. Really great book, slightly repetitive at times, but overall well written and very well translated into English.

What surprised me most was that I was most interested in reading about the crash and her survival, but actually found my favourite part of the book was the first 5 chapters where she described growing up in Peru, both in the city and the jungle. Her passion really shows for both the coun
Brilliant book. I totally get where she was coming from with many aspects of her life. Growing up in a remote area, check, moving for parents work, check, Loving nature due to parental influence and growing up in it, check, Dad who can't show feelings, check, not needing/missing modern conveniences, check, witing months for supplies or mail, check. The only part I can't relate to is the actual crash and the loss of a mum both at that age and in that way. This book made me laugh, cry, nod in agre ...more
Always a sucker for a good survival story and this one fit the bill. An astounding story of a woman who while still strapped to her plane seat fell through the air two miles and landed in the middle of the Amazon. Her survival of the fall itself is incredible but from there she had to find her way out of the rainforest. For eleven days she crawls and walks alone through the jungle, fighting for her survival again with hunger and despair. Almost as good as "Touching the Void"
This story was so much more than that of the author being the sole surviver of an air crash, on Christmas eve in December of 1971. The author, born in Peru, of German parents, lived both in Lima, Peru and in the rain forest where her parents founded the Panguana ecological research station. Her father, Hans Wilhelm and mother Maria Koepcke zoologists and ornithologist, spent many years studying the variation of fauna and, bird life of the rain forest.
Having grown up in this environment, watching
Incredible story about a 17-year-old sole survivor of a Peruvian plane crash. Her parents were famous and ground-breaking German zoologists who raised Juliane in both Lima and the rain forest before the accident. This auto-biography is a talented weaving of a current-times visit back to the rain forest in order to ensure her parents' study area as a national reserve with her childhood, the crash, her unbelievable survival, and eventual rescue.
At the age of 17, Juliane became the sole survivor of a plane explosion/crash that left her 10,000 feet in the air and then alone in the uninhabited rainforest of Peru for 11 days before she returned to safety miraculously with only minor injuries. Luckily, out of all people to go through such a horrific adventure, she grew up with renowned zoologists as parents and was well-versed in the ways of the rainforest, which knowledge she credits for her survival.

The tale of the actual plane crash (in
I enjoyed this book a lot once I got past the first 2-3 chapters. I love real adventure stories set in other countries.
Juliane describes her childhood before the crash and her life after the crash. It is a very clear dividing line in her life. I could identify with the shutting off of feelings and finally dealing with the crash emotionally years and years later.
Not only is this the story of the author's incredible survival after falling 2,000 feet into the rainforest, but it is also a story of her life and her love of the rainforest until the present day. It is a wonderful plea for conservation of this priceless ecosystem as well. It is organized to go from present day happenings to the memories they bring forth.
A truly amazing, heroic and challenging story of survival. I can't imagine going through such a traumatic event, let alone losing a mother, being the only survival and managing to survive in such a harsh environment combated by a number of injuries. Thank you for sharing your story.
I found this book after reading a short non-fiction about Juliane Koepcke with my students. They were fascinated by her story as was I and they wanted me to read her memoir. I found her story of her early life in the jungle interesting and, or course, her story of the fall and subsequent survival incredible. But the rest of the book was not as interesting. I thought the book would be mainly about her experience in the rainforest after the plane crash but I was wrong. Most of this book was about ...more
Bernadette Calonego
First, I did not want to read another survival story but I am glad I decided to read this book.
I had heard of the girl who survived a plan crash in the Peruvian jungle years ago but I could not remember all the astounding details of how she was rescued and rescued herself.
Without wanting to give away to much information, this is not only a survival story, it is also what happened after the rescue.
Juliane Koepcke has to live with the fact that people will always see her as the girl who survived a
Kathy Piper
There is no doubt that Juliane Koepcke has an incredible story to tell. To survive a fall from 10,000 or so feet by landing in a thick, uninhabited jungle in Amazonian Peru is, by itself, a true miracle. But then to survive 11 days in that jungle, and finally to find her way back to civilization, is yet another truly miraculous event and one that makes for a great story. The descriptions of her fears and shock at discovering that she was the sole survivor of the 1971 plane crash, and the sad los ...more
E.R. Yatscoff
When Juliane flew over Peru with her mother the plane encountered a wild thunderstorm and the plane exploded. Juliane, still attached to her seat was flung out and plummeted 10, 000 feet into the Peruvian jungle. Freaky, indeed. She followed the #1 rule of survival which is follow the water courses. There isn't much here on her actual survival except for maggots in her wounds and that she was in shock for some of the 10 day ordeal that she spent floating down a river. Most of the book is about h ...more
This is one of the most bonkers true stories I've ever read. This woman had more fortitude and survival skills as a child than most of us will ever have. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because the writing is tedious at times ... but of course, the author isn't a professional writer.

I actually learned about this incident from a book on planes that my then 4-year-old son checked out of the library.
Dit boek vertaalt niet alleen haar verhaal over de crash, maar ook over haar leven daarvoor en daarna, en hoe dit ingrijpend veranderde. Met dit boek zet Juliane Koepcke een onvergetelijk verhaal neer. Het is een bijzonder interessante vrouw die een niet alledaags leven heeft geleid. De gebeurtenissen rondom de crash zijn erg aangrijpend. Het is tevens schrijnend om te zien hoe ongevoelig sommige mensen zijn en hoe een verhaal in de media een totaal eigen leven gaat leiden. Daarnaast zijn er ook ...more
Donald L McGill

Author takes you along with her into the jungle, along on her airplane crash, you survive that ordeal and feel
alive again, I enjoyed every page, Read her book, experience the rain forest from your recliner, or favorite chair..
I found this book so totally engaging, I had to talk to people about it, including complete strangers.

It is a two fold survival story: hers and that of her beloved Panguana, the small preserve created by her parents in the Peruvian rainforest. It is also a definitely a tribute to her parents and their efforts to understand and preserve this unique ecosystem.

I am grateful to my friend's recommendation that I read this book, although she has not read it herself. It was time well spent.

At age 17, Julianne was the sole survivor of a crash in the rain forest. This book not only chronicles her trek to safety but also extensively examines her life in the jungles of Peru before and after the crash.
It's such a shame - she wrote this book herself. It could have been a much better read if a professional writer would have written down her story. It's somewhat messy - as if it's been written by a teenager.

After reading the part about her falling from the sky and finally getting saved, I closed the book and interpret it as a "finished read" (+/- page 90).
Umění v knize asi někdo hledat nebude. Ale údiv nad tím, co je možné musím ocenit 3 hvězdičkami.
Audrey Leyenhorst
an amazing true story - but the writing of it was challenging to enjoy, because of that I could not recommend it.
Mike Davis
A triumph of the human spirit.
Kady Sykora
Interesting story, but terribly written.
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