Man Survives After Falling Nine Stories From Building and Hitting Parked Car

A man in Jersey City, New Jersey, fell a staggering nine stories from a high-rise building earlier this week—and miraculously managed to survive.

Police are investigating the incident, which they confirmed to Newsweek was likely a case of attempted suicide.

Though there are outliers, a fall from that height is almost always fatal. For context, the medical reference book Trauma Anesthesia notes that "the median lethal distance for falls ... is four stories or 48 feet." In other words, "50 percent of patients who fall four stories will die."

If the distance of the fall is increased to seven stories, "mortality increases to 90 percent." For those that manage to survive falls from these high distances, the outcome relies on a number of factors, "[including] the impact surface and which body part makes first contact."

The incident, involving an unnamed 31-year-old man, occurred around 10:20 am on Wednesday, the Hudson Daily Voice reported. After falling, he crashed into a parked BMW. Pedestrians who had crowded to the scene realized that the man was conscious—and able to move and speak, despite having sustained serious injuries.

"The sound was very loud," said witness Christina Smith to the news outlet. "He was screaming 'help.'"

She added: "I was trying to tell him to calm down and stop moving."

After dialing 911, Smith recorded the horrifying scene—graphic footage of which has since been published by the New York Post. Speaking to the Post, Smith said: "I heard a big boom and I didn't think it was a person at first."

"The back window of the car just busted out—exploded. Then the guy jumped up and started screaming. His arm was all twisted." She added that she believes the man's attire—a puffer jacket—may have helped to cushion his fall.

The gruesome footage includes a video showing the man, clearly in agonizing pain, attempting to stand up and walk. Pedestrians who gathered at the scene, however, try to keep the man still until medical personnel can arrive. Additional photos show the 2018 black BMW 330 that broke his landing: its sunroof was smashed in the incident, and shattered glass from the front and rear windshields covered the surrounding sidewalk.

In an email to Newsweek, Jersey City police confirmed that the man jumped from the building in what was likely a suicide attempt—however, the investigation remains ongoing at the time of writing. He was rushed to a local hospital and, as of Thursday night, remained in critical condition. According to police, his injuries are considered life-threatening.

Jersey City Crime Tape
Police tape across a crime scene in Jersey City, NJ, 2019. A man plummeted nine stories from a New Jersey building, crushing the sunroof of a parked BMV but survived. His injuries are considered life-threatening. Rick Loomis/Getty Images