AN AMAZING FACT: On February 15, 2007, while practicing for the World Paraglider Championships, German Paraglider Ewa Wisnierska was sucked up 32,612 feet above sea level by a storm in New South Wales, Australia. Thirty-five-year-old Wisnierska flew underneath a massive thunder cloud and got lifted up to the altitude at which passenger jets fly. The temperature at that elevation is minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the oxygen is very thin. It’s higher than Mount Everest.
Ewa soared up about 15 minutes traveling at 65 feet per second. She radioed her team leader at 13,123 feet and said, “I can’t do anything. It’s raining and hailing and I’m still climbing. I’m lost.” She just remembered going up, with lightning around her in the cloud and being pummeled by hailstones the size of tennis balls. She passed out for more than 40 minutes while her paraglider flew on uncontrolled, sinking and lifting several times in the violent storm.
Ewa’s ground team used her GPS and radio equipment to track and record her entire epic flight. When she woke, the glider was still flying on its own. Ewa saw her gloves were frozen and she didn’t have the controls in her hands. She and her glider were covered in ice. Her clothes were frozen to her body. Incredibly, her glider kept flying perfectly in spite of the terrible battering. Despite the bitter cold, she still managed a perfect landing just near a farmhouse. She then curled up in the fetal position to restore her body heat.
Ewa suffered from severe frostbite and also had bruises all over her body from the hail stones. Her German teammates were overjoyed to hear she survived. Not even 747s fly through those storm cells. An event organizer said, “The chance of surviving what she has done is the equivalent of winning the lottery ten times in a row.” Wisnierska said being in the bowels of a monster thundercloud was both frightening and amazing. “You can’t imagine the power. You feel like nothing, like a leaf from a tree going up.”
Did you know the Bible talks about someone who survived an incredible stormy journey going down to the bottom of the mountains? Jonah, from the belly of a whale, cried out to God: “I went down to the moorings of the mountains … Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God” (Jonah 2:6). Whether your life is brought to dangerous heights or depths, your cries to God will always be heard.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. Psalms 119:117