Who Parachuted Into a Thunder Storm and Survived?

Believe it or not, Colonel William Rankin did exactly that.

As far as anyone knows, he is the only man who has ever bailed out of a plane directly into a thunderstorm and survived. Rankin was flying over the coast of North Carolina in a Marine Corps single engine jet fighter, when his engine failed.

He was at an altitude of 46,000 feet when he bailed out, and his pre-set parachute didn’t open until he had dropped all the way to 10,000 feet. For an endless 45 minutes afterward, the powerful winds of the thunderstorm tossed him about as though he were a tennis ball and they were a racket.

He later wrote a book about his experience, called Ride the Thunder, in which he describes what it felt like to ride a thunderstorm.

It was a miracle that the only thing Rankin suffered was a case of shock and mild frostbite.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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