24th December 1971 was the day when everything in Juliane Koepcke’s life took an unexpected turn. In this memoir she describes in avid detail how that happened and how she managed to cope with it and get back to leading a normal life.
The LANSA airplane that Juliane Koepcke and her mother boarded in Peru to visit her father for Christmas was caught in a thunderstorm and forced down in the vast and dense Amazon jungle several hundreds of miles away from civilization. She was the only survivor in that crash after falling two miles from the sky into the jungle strapped to her airplane seat. She walked through the jungle for 11 days braving every kind of harshness not meant for any human to survive all alone. Her skills that she had learned from her parents from the time she was a child living with them in the jungle on their various research trips, helped her survive those 11 days. She was rescued after she found a loggers’ hut.
Juliane Koepcke, along with narrating her survival experience, also explained all about Panguana, the ecological research station that her parents founded in the rainforest. She also talked about her own efforts to help Panguana continue to conserve the rainforest and be declared a nature reserve. She also described how terrifying it was to board another flight again and many more in the future not to mention the media spotlight on her everytime she had to board and get off an airplane. This story of survival contains hard facts, survival instincts, a tragedy, the willpower to find a way to live life as normally as possible after the tragedy and much more. A must read, kudos to Juliane Koepcke!