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'I fell 10,000ft to earth strapped to a seat and lived'

Girl, 17, who survived plane crash that killed her mother... and then spent 11 days alone in jungle before being saved

image from teenage years were a wild adventure, living in the Amazon with her scientist parents who taught her everything they could about the jungle.

What Peruvian schoolgirl Julianne Koepcke could not know was that these survival lessons were to save her life. 

When she was just 17, on Christmas Eve  1971, she was involved in a horrific plane crash that killed her mother and everyone else on the plane.

Julianne, now 58, fell 10,000ft, still strapped in her seat. She then walked and swam for 11 days through the heart of the Amazon until she was eventually found.

Here she tells her extraordinary story in her own words. The full article appears in the October issue of Reader’s Digest, in shops tomorrow.

My days in Lima are wonderful. Despite my jungle experience, I am a schoolgirl. I spend my vacations in Panguana and my school days with classmates in Lima. My mother prefers to fly to Pucallpa earlier, but a school dance and my high school graduation ceremony are on December 22 and 23 respectively.

I beg my mother to let me attend.

'All right,' she said. 'We’ll fly on the 24th.'

Plain Truth Editor's note: It was later discovered that as many as 14 other passengers also survived the initial fall from the disintegrated plane but were unable to seek help and died while awaiting rescue.
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