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Woman awakens encased in ice after going higher than Mount Everest

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 188060
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02/16/2007 03:15 PM
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Woman awakens encased in ice after going higher than Mount Everest
Paraglider survives after soaring to 32,000 feet

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 10:55 a.m. ET Feb 16, 2007
CANBERRA, Australia - A German paraglider was encased in ice and blacked out after being sucked into a tornado-like thunderstorm in Australia and carried to a height greater than Mount Everest. She survived.

“The glider kept climbing, climbing and I couldn’t see anything," recalled Ewa Wisnerska. "Then it got dark."

The 2005 World Cup winner was lifted 32,612 feet (9,940 meters) above sea level by the storm near Manilla in New South Wales state while preparing for the tenth FAI World Paragliding Championships next week.

A 42-year-old Chinese paraglider, He Zhongpin, was killed by the same weather system, apparently from a lack of oxygen and extreme cold, the organizers said. His body was found on Thursday 47 miles from his launch site.

“You can’t imagine the power. You feel like nothing, like a leaf from a tree going up,” Wisnerska told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Friday.

“I was shaking all the time. The last thing I remember it was dark, I could hear lightning all around me.”

'No oxygen' in the death zone
Wisnerska, a member of the German team, had been carried to a height greater than the 29,035-foot Mount Everest — an area known to mountaineers as the death zone for its extreme cold — in just 10 minutes and was rendered unconscious for almost an hour.

She encountered hailstones the size of oranges, and the temperature plummeted to minus 58 Fahrenheit.

“There’s no oxygen. She could have suffered brain damage. But she came to again at a height of 6,900 meters with ice all over her body and slowly descended herself,” said Godfrey Wenness, one of Australia’s most experienced paraglider pilots.

Wisnerska was admitted to hospital with severe frostbite and blistering to her face and ears, but has since been released.

She had been trying to fly around the rapidly developing storm front, but became trapped when two storm cells merged, Wenness said.

Sudden severe thunderstorms are common during the Australian summer and come with destructive hail, winds and torrential rain.

Wisnerska, whose flight was tracked by her personal GPS and computer, landed 40 miles from her launch site.

A British team member earlier this month survived an attack by two wild eagles which sent her canopy plummeting while flying in the same area ahead of the championships.
Man 3.0

User ID: 187421
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02/16/2007 03:16 PM
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Re: Woman awakens encased in ice after going higher than Mount Everest
what was she on? haldol?