Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.

High-faller

Vesna Vulovic

A Serbian, Vulović was a stewardess for JAT Yugoslav Airlines, and was working a flight between Stockholm, Sweden, to Belgrade, Serbia, on January 26, 1972. A suspected bomb on board exploded while they were over Czechoslovakia. The DC-9 aircraft broke apart, and everyone aboard, passenger and crew, was killed — except Vulović, who was pinned in a piece of the aircraft as it fell. At the time, the plane was flying at 10,160m (33,333 ft) high, and she was wearing a uniform, not a parachute. Amazingly, she survived. The man who found her, a German World War II army medic, reported she was in the middle of a piece of the plane, and he heard her screaming even as other pieces of wreckage were still falling around them. “I was found with my head down and my colleague on top of me,” she said later. “A catering trolly was pinned against my spine and kept me in my plane.” It’s thought that heavy woods and snow cushioned her fall, but she still had a fractured skull, three broken vertebrae (which left her temporarily paralyzed), and was in a coma for 10 days.

After a year of rehab she was able to return to work — to a desk job. Not that she was afraid to fly: she did, as a passenger, and “People always want to sit next to me on the plane!” Vulović gained fame as the survivor of the highest ever fall by a human being without a parachute (including a listing in the Guinness Book of Records), and she leveraged that fame into anti-communist political activism, protesting against President Slobodan Milosevic. She was fired from her job for her politics, but her fame protected her from arrest. “I am like a cat, I have had nine lives,” she said in 2008, “but if nationalist forces in this country prevail, my heart will burst.” Milosevic was finally forced out of power in 2000, tried for crimes against humanity, and died in prison. Vulović was found dead in her apartment on December 23, of unknown causes. She was 66.

From This is True for 25 December 2016


Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

About the HUs
About This is True

Subscribe Free
to This is True
Your E-mail:


Oldest: Memory savior Miep Gies

Newest: Risk-taking philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle


Complete Name List

Prev: Soldier of Conscience Lawrence Colburn

Next: Illustrator Tyrus Wong

Complete Name List

Copyright 1998-2017 ThisIsTrue.Inc, all rights reserved. May not be copied or archived without express, prior, written permission. "This is True" is a registered trademark of ThisIsTrue.Inc, Ridgway Colorado.