It’s the tallest uninterrupted waterfall on Earth. Taller than the Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, the Big Bang, the Statue of Liberty and the Tower of Pisa combined.
No surprise that Hollywood is picking this spot to shoot extreme scenes for blockbuster action movies where, of course, everyone survives but in real life, if you fell into this waterfall,
Would you have any chances of survival? How long would the fall take? How fast would you be hitting the river?
First of all, we need to get there, so, let’s put our passport in the backpack and buy a plane ticket. We are going to Caracas. Angel Falls is located in Venezuela in the Canaima National Park, a World Heritage Site since 1994.
You can’t get there by bus or car so you will have to take another plane to Canaima. From here, you will travel up the Rio Carrao for about 4 hours to get to the falls. The difficulty of reaching this site might explain why the falls were an unknown wonder until the mid-1950s. They were first seen in the 1930s and named after James Angel, who crash landed his plane close to them in 1937.
However, in 2009, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez declared that the falls should have an indigenous name, Kerepakupai Merú. So, we get out of the boat and here we are, admiring the tallest waterfall in the world dropping 979 meters (3,212 feet) and spanning 150 meters (500 feet) at its base. But, how does a waterfall work exactly?
A waterfall is created when water from a river erodes the rock, earth, and/or sand of its original stream bed and pushes the rock aside. Over time, a dip in the river is created.
At the bottom, the water falls after being charged by kinetic energy. This energy creates the new stream bed at the base of the waterfall and makes the water look bubbly chaotic and dangerous.
Back to our expedition, we’ve crossed the river and hiked until we have arrived at a small plateau where we can get an awesome view of the falls. Ahh, finally, you take your good camera and get ready to shoot. You get a bit closer, just another step closer, and swoosh. You slip in. And that is not good news.
Get ready to be beaten by millions of liters of water for 20 second free fall at a speed of 193 km/h (120mph). That alone could cause some serious injuries like broken bones or a concussion.
So if you have a chance jump from the edge, as far as possible from the water. That might also help you to avoid rocks on the way down. These ones are sharp and could cut you up or brake a few bones if you smash against them.
But, hopefully, you are far enough away from the side of the mountain. During the fall, try to tighten your muscles and protect your head. It’s crucial that your reach the bottom with your feet first.
When you get to the bottom, you won’t be able to swim to the surface right away because the water falling with you will push you around, forcing you deeper and further into the river. This is another chance for you to get injured by the jagged rocks and debris in the water. You won’t be able to control where your body goes.
But, you are lucky and manage to orient yourself and swim to the surface or float to it. Once you get there, though, you will have to swim away from the falls and get to land as soon as possible because the falls will try to pull you back, and you could drown and remember the water is freezing so you are looking at hypothermia as well.
This will be difficult and likely very painful even if you don’t have serious injuries. Remember, you are in the middle of a dense tropical jungle. It took you two days to get there, and you need help, STAT. Let’s be honest. The chances to survive this fall are minimal and overall, you don’t want to figure them out. Do you?
- “POINT BREAK: Climbing Angel Falls – Behind the Scenes”. 2021. Vimeo.
- “What If You Fell Into Niagara Falls? | What If Show”. 2020. What If Show.
- “How Does A Waterfall Work, Exactly?”. Laura, Schneider. 2021. Owlcation – Education.
- “Angel Falls | Location, Height, & Facts”. 2021. Encyclopedia Britannica.
- “How Does A Waterfall Work, Exactly?”. 2021. Owlcation – Education.
- “What You Should Know Before Visiting Angel Falls – Passion Passport”. Holzleitner, Tobias. 2017. Passion Passport.
- “What Would Happen If You Fell Down the Waterfall” 2021. youtube.com.