Angel Falls, Salto Angel or Kerepakupai-meru, its native name, is located at the Canaima National Park, in Venezuela, and is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 1994. Stuck in a region close to the border between Brazil and Guiana, the water that free falls from its top comes from the river Churun.
Its discovery is a bit controversial, as it was only known to the native inhabitants of the region. They named it Kerepakupai-meru (waterfall of the deepest place) but, to the "white men", the story is different. Some historians grant it to explorer Ernesto Sanchez La Cruz, others speak of captain Félix Cardona Puig and there's also Sir Walter Raleigh. The fact is, Angel Falls became known worldwide, thanks to the adventurous spirit of James "Jimmie" Crawford Angel. The name of the waterfall was given in his honour.
As I have said, the story is full of controversy and some of the dates and names can be questioned. The most widely accepted version is that James Angel, an American aviator, during a flight over the region in search of gold, who spotted the amazing waterfall, in late 1933. Determined to explore the giant discovery, he returned nearly four years later with his wife and two more people. Aboard the Flamingo monomotor "El Rio Caroni", he bravely landed atop the Auyantepui, the mountain of evil, the top of the waterfall. Luckily, they all survived, but the same cannot be said for the small airplane , which was badly damaged and glued to the ground, where it would lie for the following 33 years, when it was scaped off, with the help of a helicopter. Jimmie, his wife Marie, Gustavo Henry and his gradener, the adventurers, faced 11 days of climbing down the mountain, until they finally found civilization. It is thought this was the origin of the waterfall's name, after the brave pilot. The plane was renewed and now stands in front of the Bolivar airport.
The height of the Angel Falls was oficially determined in 1949, thanks to the efforts of the National Geographic Society. For those who are not as adventurous as Jimmie, there are touristic operators in the region that promote excursions by land, water and air (by airplane or helicopter) to get to know the Auyantepui and its numerous waterfalls, other than the amazing Angel Falls.
O avião de Jimmie Angel
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