Skydiver fell 14,500ft when parachute failed but red ant stings kept her alive

A skydiver had a miracle escape after her parachute failed on the 14,000ft jump with venomous red ants proving her unlikely salvation.

Joan Murray defied all the odds on what was her 36th jump in South Carolina, USA. The parachutist, who was 47 at the time in 1999, was stunned when her chute failed to open after jumping out of the plane.

She plummeted to the ground at around 80 miles an hour, but instead of panicking she pulled the toggle on the reserve parachute. The reserve chute became tangled as Joan hurtled towards the earth.

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With the backup parachute not doing its job properly all the odds were stacked against Joan.

She somehow survived the impact with the ground despite the slim odds. The parachutist was struggling to breath and still unconscious but had landed on a bed of venomous red ants.

Understandably angered, the ants began biting and stinging Joan which doctors believe ultimately secured her survival. Joan was stung over 200 times which experts believe pumped her full of adrenaline and kept her heart beating.

The venomous ants put poison into her system which shocked the parachutist. They kept her company until paramedics arrived at the scene and rushed her to Carolina Medical Center.

Joan suffered several shattered bones and a few missing teeth after her freefall. She was also placed into a coma while doctors gave her 17 blood transfusions and performed 20 reconstructive surgeries.

Statistics say there is just a 50% chance of surviving a fall from 48ft while that number drops to zero if the fall is over 80ft.

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Despite her close brush with death, Joan wasn't put off skydiving and took to the skies again just two years after the terrifying incident.

She died in May last year after a battle with cancer, living another 23 years after the venomous red ants helped save her life.

Her obituary read: "Joan passed away in her home on Monday, May 23rd surrounded by her daughters and partner."

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