Can You Survive A Fall Into Water At Terminal Velocity

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Last Updated on June 12, 2023 by Umar

Falling into water from great heights has always been a topic of curiosity and debate.

The question of whether one can survive a fall into water at terminal velocity has been discussed on various platforms, with personal experiences, research, and statistics providing insights into this phenomenon.

This comprehensive blog post aims to explore the subject in detail, quoting experiences and personal stories shared on the web, as well as research and statistics.

Terminal Velocity and Human Survival

Terminal velocity is the constant speed that a freely falling object eventually reaches when the resistance of the medium (air, in this case) prevents further acceleration.

For a human body falling flat, terminal velocity is approximately 50 m/s (about 120 mph) 

. The chances of survival at such high speeds are slim, but there have been cases of people surviving falls from aircraft, usually when they land in trees or on snow.

Impact on Water and Survival Limits

When a person falls into water at terminal velocity, the impact can be fatal.

The upper survival limits of human tolerance to impact velocity in water are close to 100 ft/sec (68.2 mph) corrected velocity, or the equivalent of a free-fall from a height of 160 feet

. Falling into water without assistance at terminal velocity is generally considered fatal.

Personal Stories and Experiences

While there are no specific personal stories available in the sources, anecdotal evidence suggests that people have survived falls from great heights when landing in water.

These instances often involve unique circumstances, such as landing in deep snow or being cushioned by trees

. However, it is important to note that these cases are rare and should not be taken as a guarantee of survival.

Factors Affecting Survival

Several factors can influence the outcome of a fall into water at terminal velocity.

The angle of entry, body position, and water depth can all play a role in determining the severity of the impact and the likelihood of survival.

For example, entering the water feet-first and maintaining a streamlined body position can help reduce the impact force

. Additionally, the presence of obstacles in the water, such as rocks or debris, can significantly increase the risk of injury or death.


Surviving a fall into water at terminal velocity is highly unlikely, but not impossible.

The chances of survival depend on various factors, including the height of the fall, the angle of entry, body position, and water depth.

While there have been rare cases of people surviving such falls, it is crucial to remember that these instances are exceptions and not the norm.

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