Author(s): Juliane Koepcke
On Christmas Eve 1971, the packed LANSA flight 508 from Lima to Pucallpa was struck by lightning and went down in dense jungle hundreds of miles from civilization. Of its 93 passengers, only one survived. Juliane Koepcke, the seventeen-year-old child of famous German zoologists. She'd been thrown from the plane two miles above the forest canopy, but had sustained only a broken collarbone and a cut on her leg. With incredible courage, instinct and ingenuity, she survived three weeks in the "green hell" of the Amazon - using the skills she'd learned in assisting her parents on their research trips into the jungle - before coming across a loggers hut, and, with it, safety. Now she tells her fascinating story for the first time, and in doing so tells us about her 'Gerald Durrell' childhood - with a menagerie of wild, exotic and sometimes dangerous pets - about how she learned to survive at her parents ecological station deep in the rainforest and about her present-day commitment to this wildlife as a biologist and dedicated environmentalist.
'She did not leave the airplane, the airplane left her' Werner Herzog, director of Grizzly Man 'Juliane Koepcke writes compellingly of the crash and her unusual childhood' Financial Times (DE) 'Exhilaratingly written' Express (DE) 'Her memoir is a gripping account of a harrowing adventure and an inspiring life' Publishers Weekly 'Her account of the 11-day trek is enthralling. In shock and suffering from injuries, she made it to a river's edge without her eyeglasses, wearing just a minidress and one sandal. It was rainy season, so there was no fruit to eat. She was either freezing or boiling, set upon by bugs. She contended with stingrays, snakes, king vultures and caimans. Eventually, local woodcutters found her and mistook her for a water goddess. Brought to safety, she became an international icon of hope.' Maclean's Magazine
Juliane Koepcke grew up in Lima and the rainforest, where her parents founded the Panguana ecological research station. She earned a doctoral degree in biology and works for the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich. Juliane is continually drawn back to the terrain that threatened to take her, returning to Peru every year where she runs Panguana, which she is working to expand and turn into a nature reserve. She recently received the prestigious Corine Literature Prize for her book. Her incredible story was documented in the film Wings of Hope, directed by Werner Herzog.