Miracle in the Storm - ABC Documentaries

Over the north-western plains of New South Wales, in February, 2007, German paraglider Ewa Wisnierska is sucked 10,000 metres into a massive thunderstorm.

Facing a multitude of life-threatening forces - low oxygen, freezing temperatures and wild weather - Ewa Wisnierska (Inge Sildnik) manages to navigate her way out of the storm, land her glider and miraculously survive with only minor frostbite.

While flying in an international paragliding competition, near the NSW rural town of Manilla, Ewa and two other pilots hit a powerful thunderstorm. All three immediately begin a rapid descent manoeuvre know as spiralling but the cloud suck is too strong and they just spiral in circles without descending. Massive G forces cause Ewa to almost black out and as she lets go of her brake she is rocketed upwards into the darkness above.

Soon after, Chinese pilot He Zhongpin is also thrust upwards into the fury of thunder and lightning. The third pilot, Gerald Ameseder, is more fortunate and while witnessing Ewa being pulled into the storm, he is able to exit the 'biggest and most intense storm he has ever seen in his life'.

Minutes after being pulled into the storm, tragedy strikes as He Zhongpin is hit by lightning and killed instantly.

Pulled up at 20 metres per second, the rapid ascent causes Ewa to pass out as she goes from 2,500 metres to just under 10,000 metres in around five minutes. When she pops out at the top of the storm she just circles, in wide arcs, completely unconscious and in a hibernation-like state. Collapsing under the strain of so much ice the glider drops 3,000 metres, at over 200kph, before reopening and waking Ewa with the jolt. Freezing and weak, she navigates herself away from the storm and down to the ground.

Cam Hines (South Brisbane Storms) footage was featured in this documentary also.

 

Miracle in the Storm: Intro and Part 1

Miracle in the Storm: Part 2

Miracle in the Storm: Part 3

Miracle in the Storm: Part 4

Miracle in the Storm: Part 5

Miracle in the Storm: Part 6

Miracle in the Storm: Part 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

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