On May 22, 2024

What are the chances?

Vesna Vulovic is a name etched in the annals of miraculous survival — perhaps the most unlikely survival story of all time. She was thrust into the spotlight on Jan. 26, 1972, when she unwittingly became a symbol of human resilience. 

A native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Vesna’s journey to that fateful day began like that of many young dreamers — full of hope, ambition, and a thirst for adventure. 

Born on Jan. 3, 1950, into a modest family, Vesna possessed an indomitable spirit from an early age, nurtured by her parents’ encouragement to pursue her dreams. After a year at university, Vesna traveled to the United Kingdom, partly because of her fascination with the Beatles and partly to learn better English. However, her parents became concerned about the burgeoning sex and drug scene that was rampant at the time and ushered Vesna home. 

Back in Belgrade, in her early 20s, and with little direction, Vesna’s aspirations found wings when she embarked on a career as a flight attendant for JAT Yugoslav Airlines after seeing a friend decked out in her own flight attendant outfit. The opportunity to travel the world ignited a passion within Vesna (plus she would be able to travel back to Great Britan to visit friends). She reveled in the camaraderie of her colleagues, the thrill of new destinations, and the sense of purpose that came with ensuring the safety and comfort of passengers.

But on that fateful January day, Vesna’s world was irrevocably altered when Flight 367, a Douglas DC-9, encountered catastrophic mechanical failure over Czechoslovakia. Reports would later point to a briefcase bomb being placed in the baggage compartment, likely by Croatian nationalists who were in the habit of targeting Yugoslavia with terrorist attacks. 

The aircraft disintegrated at an altitude of over 10,000 meters — nearly 6.3 miles in the sky. While the 27 other passengers and crew were sucked into the firmament to meet their death, Vesna found herself trapped between a food cart and a fragment of the fuselage. It is surmised that the fuselage hit the ground at just the right angle to spare Vesna’s life, although her injuries were catastrophic — a fractured skull, multiple broken bones, and a lengthy coma doctors feared she would never wake from. 

Vesna was discovered by villager Bruno Honke, who heard her screaming amid the wreckage. Honke had been a medic during the Second World War and was able to keep her alive until rescuers arrived.

After emerging from her coma, Vesna faced a grueling road to recovery. Her survival, dubbed by many as a miracle, captured the world’s attention and earned her a place in the pantheon of legendary feats (she was eventually recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for surviving the highest fall without a parachute).

In the aftermath of her miraculous survival, Vesna’s life took on a new trajectory — one defined by both the burdens and blessings of fame. Yet, amidst the accolades and adulation, Vesna remained grounded, humbled by the enormity of her experience and the knowledge that her survival was not just a testament to her own strength, but to the indomitable spirit of the human soul.

In the years that followed, Vesna reluctantly told her story. Though the physical scars of her ordeal would never fully fade (she had a bad limp throughout her adult life and was wracked with survivor’s guilt.), Vesna refused to be defined by them. Sadly, Vesna died alone with little money, living in a government apartment with little contact with the outside world. The few friends she had said that the event that defined her ultimately killed her. 

This week’s feature, “Mother of the Bride,” starring Brooke Shields and Benjamin Bratt, should not have been allowed to have contact with the outside world. It was genuinely that bad.

This unlikely rom-com imagines a world where two people can plan a wedding without every knowing that their respective parents dated seriously in college. You can write the script from there.

There are a lot of poor quality movies made in a given year, but 2024 may have already seen its poorest quality movie with the release of this picture. Calling this film Hallmark-like would be a disservice to Hallmark films. The acting was horrible; the writing was atrocious. The only redeeming quality was that the film was shot on location in Thailand, which provided a magnificent backdrop to an otherwise dismal film.

Check this one out if you’re looking for a complete waste of 90 minutes of your life. Otherwise turn your movie attention elsewhere. 

An implosive “D+” for “Mother of the Bride,” now streaming on Netflix.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Lessons abroad, Vermont recharge

June 12, 2024
Building a Killington Dream Lodge, part 17  What a difference a year can make. I was really excited about the changes taking place in our Killington ski lodge while I was away attending Schiller College Paris my sophomore year and Graz Center for the second summer. Meanwhile, in Vermont once the roof was done, Dad…

June: ‘bloom whereyou are planted’

June 12, 2024
June is usually thought of as the beginning of summer. School is out, we open our summer houses and maybe plan a vacation. I was given a book called “The Big Book of 30-Day Challenges” written by Rosanna Casper. It sat on a table for a long time with me just looking at it every…

Summer vacation for students in the 50s

June 12, 2024
Whether it’s 2024 or 1954 kids share the enthusiasm that comes from being on school vacation during the summer months. However, the way that their free time is spent has few similarities. As often happens when my weekly breakfast group gets together we take a “look back” at various things and recently we recalled what…

Secrets of early summer

June 12, 2024
Shhhh. Don’t tell anybody, but this is one of my all time favorite weeks of the year. The one where I make myself so exhausted that I am asleep before my head even hits the pillow. The one where I am up with the sunrise for no reason except that I cannot wait for the…