Introduction

“The Jungle Air Crash” revolves around the horrific experience of Juliane Diller, a German biologist, who survived alone in the Peruvian rainforest for eleven and half day. One day she and her mother boarded Lansa Airlines flight 508 to spend Christmas with her father in jungle hut. Everything inside the plane seemed quite normal the take off, the climb over the snow-covered Andes, breakfast, the smiling stewardesses, then the green jungle stretching east to the horizon.

The inevitable calamity

Thirty minutes after take-off, when they were over the jungle, visibility diminished and all of a sudden they hit a storm front. Broad daylight turned to night, lightning was flashing from all directions. Bags, flowers, packages, toys, jackets and clothing rained down hard on them, sandwich trays and bags soared through the air. Suddenly there was a violent shaking and she found herself outside the plane, flying apart from it, and alone falling.

When she woke up she saw herself lying under a section of three seats turned upside down with no sign of her mother, other passengers, or of the plane. She spent the whole night lying under the seat half-asleep, in shock.

Life in the jungle

The next morning, she crawled out slowly because everything swam dizzily before her.She then picked up a long stick to avoid snakes, poisonous spiders and ants. Her parents had guided her that when lost in the jungle one should always look for streams, and then follow them to larger streams.

On the third day, she heard vultures then came upon a piece of airplane fuselage and saw twisted cables. As she pressed on downstream along its bank, she saw parrots, monkeys and humming birds, and many varieties of tiny orchids growing on tree trunks. She avoided delicious looking fruit because things that look beautiful and tempting are poisonous. She was completely injured by the unbearable pain and bites of the insects. She risked by swimming because walking was much harder. On the tenth day, she saw on the floor a small outboard motor carefully wrapped in plastic, and a can of petrol indicating her of someone returning back. The rain was pouring down so she stayed in the hut.

The Mestizo men

Then she heard voices of three men who were mestizo — half white, half-Indian hunters. They told her that they kept several huts in the jungle for their expeditions and knew about the crash and one of them had actually been in a search plane which flew over the jungle after the accident. They washed her with salt water ,put salve on her wounds and made fruit mash for her,which she was unable to eat.

Early next morning, they got their boat ready and took her down river. It took hours to get to the jungle settlement of Tournavista. People came running and shouting to stare at her. Her eyes were so bloodshot they looked entirely red and her face was disfigured and swollen out of shape from the insect bites. Tournavista was a small dispensary where she washed and her wounds was treated. They used a special medicine to clean out all the worms, and gave her an injection to counteract inflammation.

The Survival

Eleven and a half days after the crash, she again boarded a plane, a small twin- engined machine that took her to the U.S. mission base of the Summer Institute of Linguistics near Pucallpa, where an American doctor looked after her. With the help of her directions, search planes found the wreckage. Her father arrived and informed about the death of her mother.

Later Searchers found the Electra scattered over 16 kilometres of jungle. The cause of the crash, and how Juliane got safely down, was unknown. One theory was that the plane exploded at 3,000 metres, that the fall of some pieces was cushioned by an enormous upward current of air in the storm.