Venomous Fire Ants Saved Skydiver From Certain Death

Mayukh Bari19 August 2020 11:31AM IST
2 min read242

Fire ants are considered as one of the few insects with most painful stings. They attack as a group and 100 bites can make a healthy person go insane. An allergic reaction to fire ant venom can cause death in some cases. But once these deadly ants unknowingly saved a skydiver from certain death.

Stay Away From The Nature's Most Potent Stingers

On September 25, 1999, Joan Murray went on a skydiving trip. She worked for 'Bank of America' but had a passion for sky diving. Previously she had done more than 30 sky dives and this day was meant to be like any ordinary day.

On that fateful day she jumped from a height of 14,500 feet. As soon as she jumped Joan experienced a main-parachute malfunction, though sources don't specify what the malfunction was. She continued to free fall until her reserve parachute finally worked. With panic settling in, and being only 700 feet from the ground, Joan spun out of control, causing the second parachute to deflate. She approached the ground at 80 miles per hour (128 kilometers per hour) landing on a mound of fire ants.

However, Joan's otherwise unfortunate landing spot had saved her from dying. According to the doctors, the repeated stings shocked Joan's heart and stimulated her nerves. The ant attack kept her organs functioning and heart beating enough to keep her alive during her hospital ride, where she fell into a comatose state.

Murray suffered serious injuries, shattering the right side of her body. She went into a coma for two weeks at Carolinas Medical Center, but survived after 20 reconstructive surgeries and 17 blood transfusions. After her release from the hospital, she said,

I have learned to take time for the important things in life. I say 'I love you' and 'thank you' a lot more since the experience.

She continued work at Bank of America after the accident, turning down retirement because of disability. She took physical therapy sessions and went on a 37th skydive in 2001.