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Stewardess who survived 33,000 ft fall dies

BELGRADE (AFP) – An air hostess who miraculously survived a fall of more than 10 kilometers 34 years ago after a plane exploded mid-air has died at the age of 66.

Vesna Vulovic, who was a 22-year-old flight attendant with Yugoslav airways JAT, was found dead by friends in her Belgrade apartment, Tanjug news agency reported Saturday. The cause of death was not known.

Vulovic was the only survivor of the January 26, 1972 bomb blast over the Czech town of Srbska Kamenice which killed 23 passengers and five crew.

She was trapped in the cone of the tail and landed on a slope after plunging 10,160 meters (33,300 feet) from the DC-9 aircraft.

Vulovic is in the Guinness Book of World Records for surviving the longest fall without a parachute.

She was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down and in a coma for nearly a month. She spent several more months in hospital.

“My thoughts are always with those who died here,” Vulovic said at a ceremony in 2002 when she returned to the spot where she had landed.

The bomb had been placed in the baggage hold in the Stockholm to Zagreb flight by a Croatian separatist group.

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