Woman Survives 14,500 Feet Fall in a Shocking Skydiving Accident With the Help of Red Ants’ Venom

Published 12/01/2023, 1:12 PM EST

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Skydiving can become a nightmare, and here’s why! Imagine yourself jumping off from an airplane and just at the moment you pull the clip of your parachute, it refuses to open! As harrowing as it seems, the chances of survival if such an incident occurs are almost nil. When a similar occurrence transpired with Joan Murray, she thought that the end of her life was near. Her entire life flashed before her eyes while rapidly descending without a parachute. However, life often gives us a second chance in ways we cannot imagine. In the most unlikely of circumstances, Murray survived! 

As strange as it might sound, the skydiver made a full recovery and led a normal life afterward. In fact, she also dared to go back up on a plane and take the plunge once again, soaring like a bird above the clouds. However, this time, her parachute did open. So how did the lady survive the free fall? What were the lasting impacts of the fall? Let’s unravel below. 

14500-feet Free Fall leads to a skydiving nightmare


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Joan Murray worked at the Bank of America Corporation. However, this was not her only identity. Murray took a keen interest in adventure sports and was an avid skydiver. Her passion made her take on the risk and thrill of jumping from heights. After completing 35 successful dives, Murray was all set to conduct her 36th in 1999. However, this time, she would be performing the dive while experimenting with some of the latest equipment. 

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Little did the then 47-year-old skydiver know that it would be an experience she would remember for a lifetime. As she leaped off the plane around South Carolina, the initial seconds felt like usual. She was free-falling while her adrenaline-pumped immersed in the perilous beauty of Mother Nature. Tragedy struck as soon as she pulled the clip of her parachute. It did not open! 


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While she was still 700 feet away from the ground, Murray knew if she did not get the parachute to open, she would crash down from 14500 feet with zero chances of survival. However, as she kept her nerves and attempted to open her spare parachute, it did open. Unfortunately, very little time was left, and the parachute got tangled as Murray finally came crashing down to the ground! 

In any normal circumstances, this would be the end of the story, but not for Murray. As she landed, after a while, a stinging sensation made her realize that she was alive. What Murray realized even further was that the object that she demolished on her descent was a mound of red ants! 


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Murray’s miraculous recovery 

The ants were seemingly disgusted with such an unwanted hindrance to their habitat. They soon got to work. With unimaginable anger, the red ants attacked Joan Murray in fleets. Now, this sounds like the worst possible thing to happen after someone has crashed from 14500 feet. But these very ants were the reason Murray survived. After the medical team came to the rescue, they stated that the constant poisonous stings of the ants continued the adrenaline inside Murray to secret, resulting in her heartbeat not stopping. 

In the hospital, she was inflicted with a coma. Murray underwent twenty surgeries along with seventeen instances of blood transfusions. After making the recovery, she went on to live a happy life until May 23, when she passed away. Murray had a long fight with cancer, to which she ultimately succumbed in the presence of her partner and daughters. 


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The miraculous tale of Joan Murray might be rare, but the way she fought back and went back to skydiving only shows her iron-like determination. May this real-life superstar’s soul Rest In Peace. 

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Written by:

Disita Sikdar


One take at a time

Words have the power to inspire and unite, and I am dedicated to making that happen! As a passionate Viral Sports writer at EssentiallySports, my past experiences as a content creator and social media manager have only fueled my drive to bring the world of sports to life. My love affair with American sports finds its epicenter in WWE. Since childhood, I have been enthralled by the dazzling world of WWE, captivated by its awe-inspiring storylines that blur the lines between sports and theatre! My coverage brings out the electrifying excitement of WWE, the poetic beauty of Soccer, and the fierce battles on the Tennis court.
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Edited by:

Arnima Shukla