"CANBERRA, Australia - A German paraglider was encased in ice and blacked out after being sucked into a tornado-like thunderstorm in Australia and carried to a height greater than Mount Everest. She survived.
The 2005 World Cup winner was lifted 32,612 feet (9,940 meters) above sea level by the storm near Manilla in New South Wales state while preparing for the tenth FAI World Paragliding Championships next week.
Wisnerska, a member of the German team, had been carried to a height greater than the 29,035-foot Mount Everest â€” an area known to mountaineers as the death zone for its extreme cold â€” in just 10 minutes and was rendered unconscious for almost an hour. She encountered hailstones the size of oranges, and the temperature plummeted to minus 58 Fahrenheit.
â€œThereâ€™s no oxygen. She could have suffered brain damage. But she came to again at a height of 6,900 meters with ice all over her body and slowly descended herself,â€ said Godfrey Wenness, one of Australiaâ€™s most experienced paraglider pilots.
Wisnerska was admitted to hospital with severe frostbite and blistering to her face and ears, but has since been released.
â€œYou canâ€™t imagine the power. You feel like nothing, like a leaf from a tree going up,â€ Wisnerska told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio on Friday.
â€œI was shaking all the time. The last thing I remember it was dark, I could hear lightning all around me.â€
Wisnerska, whose flight was tracked by her personal GPS and computer, landed 40 miles from her launch site."
To live and tell about it…