Joan Murray (skydiver)

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Joan Murray
Born1952 (age 67–68)

Joan Murray (born 1955)[1] is an American bank executive and skydiver who survived falling from a height of 14,500 feet (4400 meters).[2]

Murray lived in Charlotte, North Carolina and worked for Bank of America. She occasionally skydived before her accident.[3] On September 25, 1999,[1] she went on a skydive from 14,500 feet. Her main parachute could not open, and although her backup parachute opened at 700 feet, it quickly deflated. She approached the ground at 80 miles per hour (128 kilometers per hour), landing on a mound of fire ants. Doctors believe that the shock of being stung over 200 times by the ants released a surge of adrenaline which kept her heart beating.[4]

Murray suffered serious injuries, shattering the right side of her body and knocking fillings out of her teeth. She went into a coma for two weeks at Carolinas Medical Center,[1] but survived after 20 reconstructive surgeries and 17 blood transfusions.[3] She continued work at Bank of America after the accident, turning down retirement because of disability. She took physical therapy sessions and went on a 37th skydive in 2001.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Beating the Odds". People. 2002-07-25. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  2. ^ Vitally Useless Information. West Side Publishing. 2010. ISBN 978-1-60553-916-4.
  3. ^ a b c Rothaker, Rick (August 5, 2002). "Skydive Survivor is in "People"". Star-News. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  4. ^ Beating the Odds By Christina Cheakalos, Richard Jerome, Samantha Miller Vol. 58 No. 6 - Meet Seven Lucky Americans Who Know What It's Like to Come Back from the Brink