Ejected Pilot Taken By Thunderstorm Lived Through 40 Minute Hell
After Getting Beat Up In The Air, He Lived To Tell The Story
This is one of those rare stories that you simply couldn’t make up. Lt. Col. William Rankin was flying his F-8 Crusader in 1959 on what seemed to begin as a routine mission.
47,000 feet above the ground to stay above some really nasty clouds, but it was those same clouds that this story is about. At that altitude, Rankin heard a rumble in his engine and immediately saw his instruments flash bright orange. He immediately knew his plane was going down.
Lt. Col. Rankin was a fighter pilot both during World War II and the Korean War.
With his engine stopped cold, he had no choice but to eject into the thin atmosphere. Without a pressure suit, his vessels burst immediately after ejecting, making him bleed from his eyes, nose and ears. Frostbite set in in seconds as well.
Thankfully, his oxygen mask wasn’t ripped off allowing him to breathe at that altitude. With that settled, he was about to fall through the dark clouds he wanted to fly above minutes earlier. For the next 40 minutes, the things that happened to him will earn him the name “‘The Man Who Rode The Thunder.”
Enjoy this clip!