How would a person survive a free fall from ~30,000 feet? (30k ft is approximately the average altitude of a commercial airliner, I would assume the average person would not go any higher)
At this altitude, you would be falling at terminal velocity which is ~120 mph. There are various variables that come into play which are essential to surviving a fall at this height (the free fall doesn't kill you, the sudden stop does) however for the sake of this question let's assume:
- The person is 5'6 ft and weighs 145lbs.
- There is no parachute or anything that will reduce the speed of the initial fall.
- The person will land feet first with knees slightly bent. (As this position would increase survivability)
- This free fall can occur anywhere on Earth.
- This person is rather lucky.
- This person has to survive however life changing injuries are acceptable in this scenario.
- A medium to break the fall on the way down is ideal. For example, a tree or a very big pile of fresh snow.
- This is a "freak" accident. Ground preparation is not possible nor wearing of proper gear such as a wing suit.
I would like to know the scenarios that can/have to occur for someone to fall and survive at ~30k ft. I've read many stories about people surviving falls at or close to this height. For example, a tree breaking the fall is one scenario. Please come up with other scenarios if possible.