Read, Write, Run, Roam

Belgrade Legends II: The Serbian Who Fell From the Sky


Last week, I wrote about the Belgrade Phantom. I couldn’t tell you if that story is true or not, but there’s another Serbian whose incredible tale is utterly true, and even more amazing: Vesna Vulović.

RHOB, how can someone top the daring drives of the Belgrade Phantom? Dear reader, it was simple: she survived an airplane explosion at 33,000 feet.

The event happened almost exactly 39 years ago, when Vulović was a newly-minted stewardess for JAT Airlines. She was delivering meals on a Copenhagen-Belrade flight when an Ustache bomb exploded in the luggage compartment, ripping the plane apart. The plane-and Vulović-fell more than 6 miles, crashing in Czechoslovakia. There were no other survivors. She was 22 years old.

She was found by a former medic with Hitler’s troops, who assisted in keeping her alive. She woke up a month later in a Prague hospital. Upon regaining consciousness, her first words were, “Can I have a cigarette?” I could not make up this story if I tried.

At 22, I was falling out of bars, not airplanes

Vulović went on to make a full recovery and continue working at JAT. She later became a vocal critic of the Milosevic regime and is alive to this day. When asked about her ability to survive, she said, “it was not my day for dying.” A bit of an understatement, don’t you think?

Of course, no legend is without a little intrigue. In 2009, two journalists alleged that the plane was accidentally shot down by Czech officials, not a terrorist incident. There is also a question of whether Vulović was in the back of the plane, as she claimed, or in the middle of the plane, where witnesses saw her body after the crash. But let’s focus on the basics: the woman survived a plane explosion 10,000 meters in the air.

And still looks good, to be totally superficial

I know Serbs are tougher than man-eating sharks (sort of), but this is just ridiculous. Hats off to Vesna Vulović, the Serbian who fell from the sky-and survived.

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