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WriteMinded
05-27-2011, 05:53 AM
I've had to change a fall from a castle tower to a fall from a castle hoarding. I'm now wondering if that is going to be high enough. For death to be a certainty, how far would a person have to fall?

alleycat
05-27-2011, 05:59 AM
You could just have the victim fall on jagged rocks, or into a rough sea if the castle is on the coast.

Or have the victim hand head first and break his neck.

WriteMinded
05-27-2011, 06:04 AM
You could just have the victim fall on jagged rocks, or into a rough sea if the castle is on the coast.

Or have the victim hand head first and break his neck.Thanks for answering but I don't have either rocks or sea handy.

RJK
05-27-2011, 06:04 AM
As the cat said, if you land the wrong way, a short fall will kill you. I investigated one where a guy fell off the back of a truck, landed on his head and died of a concussion.

WriteKnight
05-27-2011, 06:05 AM
People fall off ladders and break their necks. I don't think it's implausible to fall twenty feet or so, landing on your head and getting killed.

Jumping and landing on your feet - might break legs and internal injuries, but would be survivable. So if you need to 'kill' the person falling, then make them tumble. Ass over teakettles will do it. In the dark, even better.

thothguard51
05-27-2011, 06:07 AM
It will really depend on the physical fitness of the person falling and what they hit. Do they land feat first or head first, or on their back, on hard stones or sand?

A young child was recently reported to have fell 10 stories and lived with very minor injuries. Yet a bicyclist that fell over his handle bars died when he hit his head on the curb.

Make it whatever height you want, just have their head hit something hard, or on their back.

alleycat
05-27-2011, 06:07 AM
I have a friend who almost died a year or so ago when he fell off a roof and landed the wrong way. The roof was probably only ten or twelve feet tall.

WriteMinded
05-27-2011, 06:24 AM
Thanks for trying to help. Please note this sentence in my post: For death to be a certainty, how far would a person have to fall?

So, barring the odd mattress that might be flying by, or the intervention of the gods, how far? :)

thothguard51
05-27-2011, 06:30 AM
Once again, as noted it will all depend on the how the person falling lands and what they land on. People have died falling out of bed or while getting out of the tub. I might also had that parachutest have fell hundreds of feet, bounced on the ground and walked away with minor injuries. So it really depends...

You want certainty, try 1000 feet. I am pretty sure no matter how you land, your splattered...

jclarkdawe
05-27-2011, 06:43 AM
With falls, there is no absolute. Although you are very likely to survive a fall from tripping (0' fall), people have died. And although you are very likely to die from a fall from one mile up, people have survived. For example, here's the description of a failed parachute jump from about three miles up -- What It Feels Like ... to Survive a Parachute Failure - Esquire (http://www.esquire.com/dont-miss/wifl/parachutefailure0807). So there's no such thing as a certainty from a fall.

Among other issues, once you reach a certain distance, you reach terminal velocity. In other words, there's a maximum speed at which a human body can fall. At that point, ignoring such things as breathing and cold, a fall from a quarter of a mile is no worse than a fall from ten miles up.

The only statistic I know of is that a fall from from three times your height (if you're 6' tall, a fall from 18') has a 50% fatality rate or a 50% survivability rate. Falls from less than three times your height increase the survivability rate above 50%. Falls from more than three times your height increase the fatality rate above 50%.

This figure is from the Center for Disease Control. I don't know of anyone who has broken this down any further.

There's no way to guarantee that a fall will be 100% fatal.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

leahzero
05-27-2011, 07:10 AM
Thanks for trying to help. Please note this sentence in my post: For death to be a certainty, how far would a person have to fall?

There is no way to know. People have survived INSANE falls, like this woman who survived falling 33,330 feet from an airplane (no parachute):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesna_Vulovic

So, there's no way to say with "certainty" that a fall will cause death.

chevbrock
05-27-2011, 08:06 AM
I believe that the world record for a "jump from a plane without a parachute" belongs to an airline stewardess who fell out of a plane.

I guess the answer to your question, Write Knight, to 100% guarantee death, the height would be, above the earth's atmosphere. It's how you fall is the question I think you should be considering, as it has been explained in posts further up, you can die falling off a log if you fall the wrong way.

WriteMinded
05-27-2011, 08:31 AM
With falls, there is no absolute. Although you are very likely to survive a fall from tripping (0' fall), people have died. And although you are very likely to die from a fall from one mile up, people have survived. For example, here's the description of a failed parachute jump from about three miles up -- What It Feels Like ... to Survive a Parachute Failure - Esquire (http://www.esquire.com/dont-miss/wifl/parachutefailure0807). So there's no such thing as a certainty from a fall.

Among other issues, once you reach a certain distance, you reach terminal velocity. In other words, there's a maximum speed at which a human body can fall. At that point, ignoring such things as breathing and cold, a fall from a quarter of a mile is no worse than a fall from ten miles up.

The only statistic I know of is that a fall from from three times your height (if you're 6' tall, a fall from 18') has a 50% fatality rate or a 50% survivability rate. Falls from less than three times your height increase the survivability rate above 50%. Falls from more than three times your height increase the fatality rate above 50%.

This figure is from the Center for Disease Control. I don't know of anyone who has broken this down any further.

There's no way to guarantee that a fall will be 100% fatal.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-DaweThank your very much. That was very helpful. Very.

Royal Mercury
05-27-2011, 03:38 PM
Yeah, falls are a crap shoot as others have said.

One time, I was with other family members in my grandmother's 12th floor apartment; on the balcony. A glass slipped out of my step-sister's hand and went hurtling to the stone walkway below. For a couple of seconds, several of us stared at it. The main entrance to the apartment was right below and we feared someone walking out at just the wrong moment. A glass from that height could be devastating.

And then it bounced on the stone. It bounced.

I hurried down to get it. There wasn't even a chip in its surface. After thorough inspection by the family, the glass was put in the dish-washer and returned to service.

So, do what you want after a fall. It's all believable.

KQ800
05-27-2011, 05:03 PM
It's all believable.

Well, possible. It might not be believable. ;)

shadowwalker
05-27-2011, 08:02 PM
There is also the psychological effects - I've heard (and I'm sorry I don't have a cite for this) that many times people actually die of heart failure (shock/stress) before hitting the ground.

Not sure what bearing that has on the OP... ;)

Buffysquirrel
05-27-2011, 08:46 PM
I believe that in a Japanese 747 crash that was officially classed as unsurvivable, two people survived, albeit with severe injuries.

Ray H
05-27-2011, 09:26 PM
As the cat said, if you land the wrong way, a short fall will kill you. I investigated one where a guy fell off the back of a truck, landed on his head and died of a concussion.

Indeed this is correct. I knew of a case where friends of mine where chasing a handcuffed prisoner that managed to escape. During the chase, the escapee tripped and fell. Since his hands were cuffed behind his back, he hit his head and died as a result of the injuries within a matter of minutes.

I also chased a subject that jumped from a bridge. My guess is that he thought the fall to be around 10-20 feet because of the trees that poked up from around the sides. Unfortunately for him, these particular trees grew sideways and then up. The fall turned out to be about 80 feet to the top of a train tunnel and then another 20-30 feet down from that. He died instantly.

Ray H
05-27-2011, 09:27 PM
I believe that in a Japanese 747 crash that was officially classed as unsurvivable, two people survived, albeit with severe injuries.

That is very interesting. But, is a plane crash considered a fall?

JayMan
05-28-2011, 01:38 AM
The only statistic I know of is that a fall from from three times your height (if you're 6' tall, a fall from 18') has a 50% fatality rate or a 50% survivability rate. Falls from less than three times your height increase the survivability rate above 50%. Falls from more than three times your height increase the fatality rate above 50%.
Was pretty much going to say this. When I was in an EMT course several years ago, we were taught that a fall from three times your height can be fatal-- of course, as many others have pointed out, there are a lot of factors and variables and caveats.

Drachen Jager
05-28-2011, 02:37 AM
Thanks for trying to help. Please note this sentence in my post: For death to be a certainty, how far would a person have to fall?

So, barring the odd mattress that might be flying by, or the intervention of the gods, how far? :)

If he was outside of Earth's atmosphere he'd suffocate to death before falling. Otherwise there's always a chance (however slim) that he'll survive. It's not common, but people survive terminal-velocity drops every few years.

PrincessofPersia
05-28-2011, 03:26 AM
Falls from over 30 feet are rarely survivable. It is possible, but you can have someone die from a fall of 30 feet, and it won't be unrealistic at all. A 150-pound person falling 30 feet will hit the ground at 44 feet per second. That's 13,000 pounds of force if you land on a hard surface like concrete.

MttStrn
05-28-2011, 08:50 AM
Quick off-topic question: What the heck is a castle hoarding? Do I not know this because I don't read fantasy?

Back on topic: As many people have rightfully pointed out, a fall from almost any hight CAN be fatal, though it might not definitely be. Is there a reason death has to be a certainty? If the person has to die, you could just have the person fall and then have someone see his neck at an impossible angle. Death will be implied but definite.

WriteMinded
05-28-2011, 07:00 PM
:D This is getting to be quite humorous. Mea culpa.

To simplify my question, I referred only to a fall, not a near fall. I have learned my lesson. No more simplification. The guy doesn't actually fall. It goes like this: Big man, leans on the wood railing of the hoarding, it comes away, he starts to fall. Small man, his best friend, grabs him. The flooring gives way. The little guy is able to hold on long enough for help to arrive. No fall, but they must believe that if he falls, death will be a certainty.

The answers about statistics and falls from three times your height were very helpful. Thanks to all of you for your help.

@ PrincessofPersia: Very helpful answer. Thanks.

@ BuffySquirrel: Plane crashes are not falls. Also, time frame is about 500 A.D. They weren't doing a lot of flying back then - except for falls from hoardings. :)

@ Drachen Jager: Outside Earth's atmosphere??? No, just at the top of a castle wall.

@ jclarkdawe: Just the kind of thing I needed to know. Thanks.


MttStrn Quick off-topic question: What the heck is a castle hoarding? Do I not know this because I don't read fantasy?

This is an attempted murder. The original intent was for deliberately loosened stones to break away. I posted asking how that could be done and learned that it would be difficult and very noisy. WriteKnight suggested using a hoarding, even included links to pics. Like you, I had no idea what it was. I'm an American. Sadly, we don't have castles over here, and I have trouble understanding them. A hoarding is a platform, like a deck on a house, built on the outside of a castle wall for defensive purposes during a siege. Here, you can have a look if you like. http://www.castlewales.com/casterms.html

Kenn
05-28-2011, 11:42 PM
I have to say that I'd be surprised if falling from 18 feet results in a 50 % death rate. What it might mean is that 50% of deaths are caused by falling from 18 feet or less (which is different). I can't see any reason why it should depend on how tall you are either.

If somebody has grabbed him then the he would be prepared for the fall and unlikely to land on his head. Death in that case would be by breaking the spine near the head, which depends on being unlucky (it depends on the landing but is impossible to quantify). If the railing gave way, then the fellow would be going out head first and the little man has probably saved him anyway. By not letting him fall, he has saved him from significant injury. If in days of yore, then a broken back would mean he was as good as dead.

WriteKnight
05-29-2011, 01:09 AM
If someone is dangling more than fifteen or twenty feet from the ground, and I'm holding them up - I'm going to be concerned that they will be killed by the fall, because I have no way of knowing HOW they will land.

And it's the 21st century.

Put the same situation in a medieval setting - people die from internal injuries from falls all the time. Yeah - it's going to be perceived as life threatening to be dangling over the edge of a hoarding, with a fall of twenty feet or more. That's assuming you're looking down at a dry moat or rocks - and not water. (The hoarding implies that you are.)

jclarkdawe
05-29-2011, 03:02 AM
I have to say that I'd be surprised if falling from 18 feet results in a 50 % death rate. What it might mean is that 50% of deaths are caused by falling from 18 feet or less (which is different). I can't see any reason why it should depend on how tall you are either.

First off, this is only a rough approximation and meant to be exactly that. It doesn't factor in age, horizontal speed, landing surface, or anything at all. All it says is that based upon reports received by the Center for Disease Control, at approximately three times your height, 50% of all people live and 50% die. I don't know the numbers, but let's say at two times your height, 30% die and 70% live. And at four times your height, 60% die and 40% live.

All it does it report on the actual number of fatalities based upon how far a person fell. A fall from twelve feet head first onto concrete by a ninety-year-old man is a lot more likely that a fall from six stories by a twenty-five-year-old into an air bag. Factor into this that more falls happen to older people. Factor into this that falls that don't result in injuries never even reach the CDC.

And a fall from a parent's arms for an eighteen-inch infant (about five feet) is a lot more dangerous that a fall that same distance for someone who is six feet tall. That should be obvious once you start thinking about it.

The purpose behind it as a statistic is to help give emergency medical personal a guideline to help assess patients. If, as an EMT, I call the hospital on an open line and say "Patient fell 4X his height." or say "Patient fell 2X his height." Think both my thinking and the ED's thinking is going to be different? We're going to go through the same checklist, and treat the patient based on what's actually going on, but it helps in making initial judgments.

For example, as an EMT, I had a medical call for "Elderly man fallen" in winter. In other words, a slip and fall on ice. No rush, didn't even use the red lights. Got there and found that every vital sign was in the toilet. Further found out that the reason he fell was a self-inflicted GSW to the head. Compare this to a call that starts "Man fell two-story roof." Yeah, pedal to the metal and red lights and siren. Patient was not dead but did enough damage that without surgery he would probably have been. But we could have gone to the scene with traffic and it wouldn't have made a difference to the outcome.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Tsu Dho Nimh
05-29-2011, 07:02 PM
I've had to change a fall from a castle tower to a fall from a castle hoarding. I'm now wondering if that is going to be high enough. For death to be a certainty, how far would a person have to fall?

People have died falling off a bicycle ... hit the temple area and the artery in there breaks and you die of a subdural hematoma. Natasha Richardson did enough damage in a low-velocity ski fall that she died. You can die in minutes to hours.

Land in the wrong way and break cervical vertebra and your lungs stop working. You die in minutes.

You can certainly have them hit something hard or just land 'wrong'

WriteMinded
05-29-2011, 08:08 PM
Thanks for all the answers. You guys have been great, and greatly helpful.


If someone is dangling more than fifteen or twenty feet from the ground, and I'm holding them up - I'm going to be concerned that they will be killed by the fall, because I have no way of knowing HOW they will land.

And it's the 21st century.

Put the same situation in a medieval setting - people die from internal injuries from falls all the time. Yeah - it's going to be perceived as life threatening to be dangling over the edge of a hoarding, with a fall of twenty feet or more. That's assuming you're looking down at a dry moat or rocks - and not water. (The hoarding implies that you are.)Thanks again. I'd never be able get this chapter right without your input. Think I can manage it now. :)