Elvita Adams Is The Only Person To Survive Jumping Off The Top Of The Empire State Building

In September of 2000, Kevin Hines leaped from the railing of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, and freefell some 240 feet to the water below. After crashing through the surface of the Golden Gate Bay, Hines suffered a broken vertebra and a shattered ankle, but miraculously, he survived. "I thought it was too late, I said to myself, 'What have I done, I don't want to die,'" he shared after the fact. "I realized I made the greatest mistake of my life" (via Psycom).

Hines' suicide attempt changed the course of his life, and today, he lives to help others who endure the same strife and hardship that compelled him to nearly take his own life, as Psycom reports. Surviving a fall from the Golden Gate bridge defies the parameters of reasonable possibility, but as we now know, it can happen; but what about a fall from the Empire State building? Well, as it turns out, that's not outside the realm of possibility either. 

The story of Elvita Adams

According to Britannica, New York City's historic Empire State building towers 1,250 feet above the streets below. The timeless urban monolith that pierces the clouds is a devastatingly beautiful sight to behold, but there was no beauty to be found anywhere in life for Elvita Adams. It was in 1979 that Adams, who was 29 years old, decided to take her own life on December 2nd of that year. History of Yesterday reports that the young New Yorker was struggling to make ends meet and couldn't seem to find a way out of the vicious cycle of depression and internal tribulation that was her reality. 

The structure's famous sky deck where visitors can gaze out across the New York skyline resides on the 86th floor. Around 8 p.m., Adams scaled the 8-foot fence installed to prevent such instances and hurled herself over the edge into the void below (per History of Yesterday). 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

How did Elvita Adams survive?

Shockingly, that wasn't the end of her story. Elvita Adams would live to fight another day when the fall that was intended to kill her stopped short about 20 feet from the jumping point. A day later, The New York Times reported that Adams' life was saved by a 3-foot ledge that she somehow landed upon instead of plummeting to the pavement below. With the exception of a fractured pelvis, she survived. 

The most logical explanation for how Adams landed upon that ledge was later determined to be significant gusts of wind. According to History of Yesterday, the wind speeds at the top of the Empire State building can easily reach up to 110 mph, so it's most likely that the force of the air that day pushed Adams toward the ledge of the building just enough to direct her onto the ledge. Thankfully, she never made another attempt on her own life and reportedly went on to turn things around for herself. To this day, she remains the only person to ever survive a fall from the Empire State building.