Completely Alone

Completely Alone


To engage the students with reading comprehension .
Encourage students to respond to the context of a text and exploit their feelings about it.

To stimulate discussion. 

An authentic reading text was chosen for pre-intermediate learners.

It`s an article from BBC News Magazine - “Juliane Koepcke: How I survived a plane crash”, published 24 March, 2012.

To suit the level the article was adopted, it was shortened and divided into two parts. The text was designed for intensive reading.

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Pre-reading exercises.


Read the text quickly and check your ideas.

Juliane Koepcke: How I survived a plane crash

Juliane Koepcke, 1971: The 17-year-old and her mother, a zoologist, were on a plane flying from Lima, Peru, to a small town in the Amazon rainforest, when the plane was struck by lightning. More than 40 years later, she recalls what happened.

It was Christmas Eve 1971 and everyone was eager to get home. Suddenly we entered into a very heavy, dark cloud. My mother was anxious but I was OK, I liked flying.Ten minutes later it was obvious that something was very wrong.

There was very heavy turbulence and the plane was jumping up and down, parcels and luggage were falling from the locker, there were gifts, flowers and Christmas cakes flying around the cabin. When we saw lightning around the plane, I was scared. My mother and I held hands but we were unable to speak. Other passengers began to cry and scream. After about 10 minutes, I saw a very bright light on the left. My mother said very calmly: "That is the end, it's all over." Those were the last words I ever heard from her.

The plane jumped down and went into a nose-dive.  The deep roaring of the engines filled my head completely.

Suddenly the noise stopped and I was outside the plane. I was in a freefall, strapped to my seat bench. The whispering of the wind was the only noise I could hear. I felt completely alone. Then I lost consciousness and remember nothing. Later I learned that the plane had broken into pieces about two miles above the ground.

I woke the next day.  The first thought I had was: "I survived an air crash."


Read the text again: true (T) or false (F)?

1. Juliane and her mother were traveling by air.

2.  The girl was afraid of flying.

3.  There was a storm and the plane was struck by  lightning.

4. Julian and her mother began to cry.

5.  The plane broke into pieces in the air.

6. Julian fell out of her seat bench.

7.  The girl found herself in the Amazon jungle.

Juliane was now lost in deep Amazon jungle. What problems did she have? What were her thoughts and feelings? Discuss it with your partner.

Read the second part of the article and check your ideas.

Before the crash, I had spent a year and a half with my parents on their research station only 30 miles away. I learned a lot about life in the rainforest, that it wasn't too dangerous.  

I could hear the planes overhead searching for the wreck but it was a very dense forest and I couldn't see them.

I was wearing a very short, sleeveless mini-dress and white sandals. I had lost one shoe but I kept the other because I am very short-sighted and had lost my glasses, so I used that shoe to test the ground ahead of me as I walked.

Snakes are camouflaged there and they look like dry leaves. I was lucky I didn't meet them or maybe just that I didn't see them.

I found a small creek and walked in the water because I knew it was safer. At the crash site I had found a bag of sweets. When I had finished them I had nothing more to eat. It was very hot and very wet, it rained several times a day and it was cold in the night.

By the 10th day I was very tired and felt so lonely. I was walking along a larger river when I saw a small path into the jungle where I found a hut with a palm leaf roof. I decided to spend the night there. The next day I heard the voices of several men outside. It was like hearing the voices of angels.  When they saw me they stopped talking. I introduced myself in Spanish and explained what had happened. They treated my wounds and gave me something to eat and the next day took me back to civilization.

Fill in the table.

Work in groups

Make up a story about your survival in the jungle.

 Why were you there? What did you see? How did you feel? What or who helped you?