On 9th August 1970, a LANSA flight 502 was bound from Cusco to Lima, carrying eight crew and ninety-two passengers. Over half of the passengers belonged to a single group, sponsored by the Buffalo, New York based International Fellowship student exchange program, consisting of 49 American high school exchange students, along with their teachers, family members, and guides. At some point during the takeoff run or initial climb, the number three engine failed and caught fire. The crew continued the takeoff and climb, per standard procedure, using power from the remaining three engines. The plane entered a 30–45 degree bank, then rapidly lost altitude and crashed into hilly terrain.
Only one survived the crash, a 17-years-old girl named Juliane Diller on her way to join her father for Christmas. She was strapped to her plane seat falling through the night air two miles above the Earth. Her survival is unexplainable and considered a modern day miracle. Her mother was among the 91 dead and Juliane the sole survivor. For 11 days she walked alone through the jungle, fighting for her survival, battling hunger and despair, her only companions were maggots as they ate their way into her wounds. Juliane ultimately survives and goes on to live an inspiring life as a scientist continually drawn back to the terrain that threatened to take her life. On the 40th anniversary, she shares not only the private moments of her survival and rescue but her life in the wake of the dramatic true story.
On the 40th anniversary, she shares not only the private moments of her survival and rescue but her life in the wake of the dramatic true story.
The full story of her amazing story and survival are detailed in a book titled When I Fell From The Sky.