Jessica Bruinsma was a 24-year-old American hiking in the Bavarian Alps. After encountering some bad weather, she fell 16 feet onto a narrow mountain ledge, where she remained for almost three days.
(Sports Bra? Check. Mountains? Check.)
Bruinsma knew of only one way to summon help.
She took off her sports bra and slid it down a cable, which alerted nearby lumberjacks to her location.
An Alpine rescue team, including five helicopters and 80 emergency workers, had been searching for Bruinsma since she went missing June 16 after losing her way in bad weather while hiking with a friend near the Austrian border. [She survived] by water that she found by breaking into a supply box on the ledge.
She badly bruised a leg and dislocated a shoulder in the fall, and the cliff was too isolated for her to climb free…the cable was only within reach because the timber transport system was out of service. When a repairman restored the line on Thursday, the cable car started moving up the mountain and Bruinsma’s bra reached the worker at the base. He knew of the missing hiker and immediately called police.
Berchtesgaden police commended the American’s ingenuity:
“She did so well because she is in very good shape. She has been training for a marathon — her goal is to finish in 3 hours and 10 minutes.”
Wow, five helicopters and 80 emergency workers? Who says they don’t love Americans in Europe? But seriously, I would probably climb whatever mountain you put in front of me if I knew there was going to be some bra-less (female) American at the summit. That’s probably why you don’t see many mountain climbers in the States. Especially with all the ski lifts today.