Former JAT Yugoslav Airlines crew member, the sole survivor of flight JU367, Guinness World Record holder and Yugoslav national heroine, Vesna Vulović, passed away late last week in Belgrade at the age of 66, following a battle with an illness. Vulović survived the highest ever fall by a human being after a JAT DC-9 broke up mid-air among mountains in Czechoslovakia following a bomb explosion at 33.000 feet on January 26, 1972. All other 27 passengers and crew died on the flight routed Stockholm - Copenhagen - Zagreb - Belgrade. According to investigators, Vulović was trapped by a food cart in the plane's tail section as it plummeted to earth in freezing temperatures. The tail landed in a heavily wooded and snow-blanketed part of a mountainside, which was thought to have cushioned the impact. Vulović was rescued by Bruno Honke, a woodsman who heard her screaming in the dark while the debris came down around them.
After arriving in hospital, Vulović fell into a coma for ten days. She had a fractured skull, two crushed vertebrae and she had broken her pelvis, several ribs and both legs. "I was broken, and the doctors put me back together again", she told the "New York Times" in 2008. "Nobody ever expected me to live this long". The fall gained Vulović a place in the Guinness Book of Records of 1985 for the highest fall survived without a parachute. The stewardess was temporarily paralysed from the waist down by the fall but after almost a decade she made a near-full recovery and returned to work for the airline in a desk job. She never regained any memory of the accident or of her rescue, she said, and she continued to fly as a passenger. "People always want to sit next to me on the plane", she said. Vulović was fired from her job in 1990 after taking part in mass protests against President Slobodan Milošević. Last year, a four-piece Finnish rock band, the Van Dammes, released a single dedicated to Vesna Vulović entitled, " Vesna (Flash in the Night)”.