Miraculous Survival: The Story of Elvita Adams

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In 1930, after the completion of the Empire State Building, many people jumped from here to commit suicide. As one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, the Empire State Building stands at about 320 meters high, enough to fulfill the wishes of those seeking to end their lives. After numerous suicide attempts from this building, only one person miraculously survived. That person was Elvita Adams.

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The event occurred on December 2, 1979. At that time, Elvita Adams was only 29 years old and was struggling to make ends meet with her son in New York City, USA. A few months prior, she had lost her job and was now living on a $100 welfare check. This amount was insufficient to afford the high rent in New York City, and she and her son were constantly threatened with eviction by their landlord. Elvita often fell into bouts of depression, with no one to help her. On the brink of despair and driven by depression, Elvita ascended to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building to take in the view. The 86th floor housed the famous observation deck, where most tourists came to admire New York. Later, Elvita shared that at that moment, she found the lights below beautiful and wanted to touch them.

Due to previous suicide attempts, the observation deck on the 86th floor had been reinforced with a nearly 2.5-meter-high railing. Around 8 p.m. on December 2, 1979, Elvita climbed to the 86th floor and threw herself off.

In an article published by The New York Times on December 3, 1979, a spokesperson for the building said that there were usually four guards patrolling the 86th floor. However, at that time, no one was there to prevent Elvita from jumping. A guard named George Reice found Elvita lying on a ledge on the 85th floor of the building. In his testimony, he stated that around 8:15 p.m., he heard cries for help from the 85th floor. What had happened was that Elvita had jumped from the 86th floor but ultimately landed on a ledge about 6 meters below.

After George Reice pulled Elvita inside, an ambulance arrived and took her to Bellevue Hospital. The woman only suffered a cracked pelvic bone, but when she woke up, she was in great pain. Elvita didn’t know what had saved her in that life-threatening moment because there was no one around that night. “All I remember is the pain. I was in so much pain that I forgot all about fear. I’m not sure whether the wind pushed me back towards the building or away from it,” the woman recalled.

Initially, authorities speculated that someone had pushed Elvita off, but she assured them that she had attempted suicide and was not harmed by anyone else. Another article in The New York Times suggested that authorities of the Empire State Building hypothesized that Elvita had been… saved by the wind. At such a height, the wind was very strong, strong enough to change the trajectory of a falling person. Experts believe that at this height, the wind could reach speeds of 177 km/h. It was the wind that propelled Elvita upwards to the 85th floor and miraculously saved her life.

There is not much information about Elvita Adams after this failed attempt. Some say she became a comedian in New York. Nevertheless, this serves as a powerful wake-up call for those who want to end their lives because no matter how difficult it may seem, as long as we preserve life, we can change our destiny.

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