1. WhenIt'sDark
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    WhenIt'sDark Member

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    Could you survive a fall from two stories high?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by WhenIt'sDark, Jun 22, 2013.

    At a certain point in my story, my MC falls down a hole that is approximately two stories high. She only has a dislocated shoulder but I just realized that I don't even know if this is possible. Would she even be able to survive?

    Thank you very much!
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The two story depth of the hole is quite survivable. More problematic would be how wide the hole is. Is is narrow enough that the person would take deflection hits, one side of the hole to the next, before hitting bottom, or is it wide enough that the fall is just a straight drop?
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I can be either survivable or lethal depending on how one lands (shoulder is a good explanation for surviving), how much the landing surface absorbs the shock, (soft dirt, snow, good; rocks and cement, bad), and, if the fall is broken on the way down like bumping against the side. The MC can always grab loose roots on the way down, that then give way. You can write in plot devices that break the fall.
     
  4. Shandeh
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    Shandeh Active Member

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    There are people who have survived when their chutes didn't open while skydiving.

    Given that you only need to fall somewhere around I think 600 feet to reach terminal velocity [if I remember correctly... it's cited in the episode of Mythbusters where they do 22000 foot fall], any fall from above 600 feet [approx 60 stories] is just as lethal as any other fall from above that height. Yet you have people who survive a freefall from thousands of feet above the ground. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

    Extreme example I know, but there you go. 20 feet or thereabouts is very survivable depending on the surface onto which you fall. I'd imagine the impact would be fairly similar to falling off a galloping horse, which I can tell you from experience is NOT fun and not recommended, but not lethal unless you're extremely unlucky. I had a nasty concussion and a cracked humerus, but was otherwise fine, after my worst fall [I no longer gallop at that speed on that horse...]. Jockeys fall off galloping horses all the time and survive no problem. There are of course deaths but I will never forget seeing a racing fall where the horse fell, flung the jockey off in front of him, then rolled over the top of her. It was horrifying to watch but she suffered only a concussion and a broken ankle. The horse was unhurt.
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    It also depends what type of hole she falls down in. If it is a hole with earth on either sides and even when she hits the bottom, it would be a softer fall than say, falling on cement. But yes, it is quite survivable. :)
     
  6. The Peanut Monster
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    The Peanut Monster Senior Member

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    Absolutely. Check out this 15 story fall, which only happened a few days ago here in NZ: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22947442
     
  7. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Yes. Depending on how you fall, you can fall from MUCH higher.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end."

    With a fall down a hole, it isn't necessarily a free fall. Your character could strike the walls of the hole on the way down, or protruding roots, etc. And the abruptness of the stop depends on the surface at the bottom. Soft dirt, bushes and branches that have fallen into the hole, these can reduce the deceleration to nonlethal levels. also, if it's a sloping surface, the vertical deceleration is also lessened, with some of the momentum directed laterally.

    And two stories isn't that far to fall.
     
  9. Cydramech
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    Cydramech Member

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    Yeah, people have survived two-story falls plenty. The real question that should be asked (like you yourself alluded to) is, "how do they recover? what bones could they've broken?"
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The only thing I would add to what others have posted is that I would expect there would be other injuries besides a shoulder dislocation. Also, the age of your character would affect the severity of the injuries and the length of time to recover.
     
  11. WhenIt'sDark
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    WhenIt'sDark Member

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    Thank you all! Very helpful responses and advice!
     
  12. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    People die falling over their feet. And people survive falling out of planes. It all depends on the variables. How fast you fall which is largely determined by height. The surface you land on, how much impact can it absorb. How you land, head first is obviously a bummer. The person's size, weight and physical condition. Typically younger people of small build survive better.

    With your victim you prabably want her fall to be broken to slow it a little - grabbig roots as someone said and bouncng off the sides of the well. You want her to be of light build and quite young. Granny is not going to do so well here. And you want her to land on her feet with her knees bent so that her leg muscles can absorb some of the impact, but not straight because then the impact runs straight through the bones and damages the spine / neck. As an alternative you can try landing her on her back, legs and arms out wide to absorb the shock over the entire body. That way no single part of her when she lands has to take the load of the entire body on top of it. This is why Judo falls are done that way. Oh and if she knows judo and can time it right, the arm impacting with the ground first to absorb some of the fall is a great technique for falls from lower heights. And if its done wrong it might well cause a shoulder injury.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  13. Aprella
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    Aprella Senior Member

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    It is survivable. Some years back a woman who lived on the second floor (American third floor) jumped from her balcony and didn't had major injuries. Though if you hit your head hard, you might not be so lucky. So it depends a bit on how you fall.
     
  14. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    Like the others said, it all depends on how she falls. Did she jump? Was she pushed? If she was pushed I'd imagine she wouldn't have much control on how she landed. If she lands in an awkward position like the shoulder, one leg, etc. then we're probably talking broken bones.

    In the military I trained at Airborne school (this is the soldiers jumping out of planes that you see). The Army jumps at very low altitudes and deploy chutes that get their soldiers to the ground as fast as possible without killing them, because soldiers are vulnerable in the air. The landing with one of those chutes is described as a jump out of a second story window. You have to land in a specific way (both feet at the same time, knees bent, body in shape of a C, etc) in order to land without injury. I made 3 landings in one day and I walked away from all of them (although the last one gave me a limp that lasted a two weeks and a knee injury that didn't fully heal for four months).

    Not only can you survive a fall from two stories, you could do it multiple times in a day without injury (or too much injury). Have one bad landing, however, and your leg is broken.
     

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