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Human Anatomy and Physiology
Death and Dying
Newtons Laws of Motion

What is the highest point a human can fall from without dying?


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March 23, 2009 5:48AM

There is no fixed distance from which a person can fall and not survive. There are too many variables that will make any conclusion inaccurate. A person can suffer a broken neck falling down a flight of stairs or from the roof of a single story home. Fatal falls might be generalized as just about anything over a few stories. Three, four or five (at 8' to 10' per floor, depending on who you talk to) floors will be the "breakover point" and it's pretty much a done deal there. Certainly there are exceptions that can be cited. There is the true story of a Yugoslavian flight attendant who rode a chunk of broken aircraft into the ground from some 30,000 plus feet. She had a number of fairly serious injuries, but recovered fully. And a British tail gunner in a bomber which was shot down during WWII flight operations jumped from his burning aircraft at some 18,000 feet and had his fall broken by pine tree branches and soft snow. He sprained a leg. There are a few other similar stories, but these are the rare exceptions to the rule. If you want to flog this a bit, you'll have to plot some incidents and do some statistical analysis. OSHA might be a good place to start since they look at hazards in the workplace. Grab some data and a pencil and graph paper. You'll doubtless get what is called an "s-curve" when you lay it out. The plot starts up, then increases in slope, then decreases in slope, and then decreases more in slope until the slope approaches zero. In the middle of the s-curve is the "50-50" point where you have an even chance to live or die in a fall. To see what an s-curve looks like, use the line below. Good luck with your statistics.