Archive for the ‘Most lucky survivals around the world’ Category

Frane Selak: Escaped from a derailed train, a door-less plane, a bus crash, a car into flames, another 2 car accidents… then won Million Dollar lottery!

Luck has always been on his side or vice versa for croatian music teacher Frane Selak (born in 1929), who is well known around the world for as many fatal accidents as spectacular escapes. The first of his numerous near-death experiences began on a cold January day in 1962, when Selak was on a train to Dubrovnik: it suddenly derailed into an icy river, killing 17 passengers. He managed to escape with a broken arm, minor scratches and bruises. A year later, Selak was flying, from Zagreb to Rijeka, when a door abruptly blew away from the cockpit of the plane, as he was blown off the plane. The accident killed 19 people, however, Selak was lucky enough to land on a haystack, and wake up some days later in hospital, with minor injuries.

It was in 1966 that he met with the third misadventure while traveling on a bus that crashed and plunged into a river. There were four people dead. Astonishingly, Selak managed to escape unharmed again.

In 1970, Selak was driving along when, all of a sudden, his car caught fire. He was fortunate again to have left the car before the fuel tank exploded. Three years later, another of Selak’s car caught fire, blowing flames through the air vents. To a greater dismay, Selak’s lost most of his hair.

In 1995, Selak was in Zagreb when he was hit by a bus, again leaving nothing but a few injuries. The following year, while driving through a mountain road, Selak drove off a guardrail to escape an oncoming truck and landed on a tree to watch his car explode 300 feet below.

In a surprising turn of events in 2003, Selak won the million-dollar Croatian lottery, turning the man into either the world’s unluckiest man, or the world’s luckiest one.

Anatoli Bugorski: The Man Who Survived a Beam from a Particle Accelerator

As a researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino, Bugorski used to work with the largest Soviet particle accelerator, the Synchrotron U-70. On July 13, 1978, Bugorski was checking a malfunctioning piece of equipment when an accident occurred due to failed safety mechanisms. Bugorski was leaning over the piece of equipment when he stuck his head in the part through which the proton beam was running. Reportedly, he saw a flash “brighter than a thousand suns”, but did not feel any pain. The beam measured about 200,000 rads when it entered Bugorski’s skull, and about 300,000 rads when it exited after colliding with the inside of his head.

The left half of Bugorski’s face swelled up beyond recognition, and over the next several days started peeling off, showing the path that the proton beam (moving near the speed of light) had burned through parts of his face, his bone, and the brain tissue underneath. As it was believed that about 500 to 600 rads is enough to kill a person, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow where the doctors could observe his expected demise. However, Bugorski survived and even completed his Ph.D.. There was virtually no damage to his intellectual capacity, but the fatigue of mental work increased markedly. Bugroski completely lost hearing in the left ear and only a constant, unpleasant internal noise remained. The left half of his face was frozen, due to the destruction of nerves, and does not age. He is able to function perfectly well, save the fact that he has occasional petit mal seizures and very occasional grand mal seizures.

Roy Sullivan: Struck by Lightning 7 Times

Roy Sullivan was a Virginia Forest Ranger who had an incredible attraction to lightning… or rather lightning had an attraction to him. Over his 36-year career as a ranger, Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times – and survived each jolt, but not unscathed. His seventh strike put him in the Guinness Book of World Records:
  • In 1942, the first lightning strike shot through Sullivan’s leg and knocked his big toenail off.
  • In 1969, a second strike burned off his eyebrows and knocked him unconscious.
  • In 1970, another strike left his shoulder seared.
  • In 1972, his hair was set on fire and Roy had to dump a bucket of water over his head to cool off.
  • On August 7, 1973, another bolt ripped through his hat and hit him on the head, set his hair on fire again, threw him out of his truck and knocked his left shoe off.
  • On June 5, 1976, a sixth strike in 1976 left him with an injured ankle.
  • On June 25th, 1977, the last lightning bolt to hit Roy Sullivan sent him to the hospital with chest and stomach burns in 1977.

Truman Duncan: Cut in Two by a Train

Railroad switchman Truman Duncan fell off the front of a moving train car. He was swept underneath and cut in two. Despite losing both legs and a kidney, Duncan called the paramedics on his cell phone, survived a 45-minute wait, and then persevered through 23 surgeries.

Aron Ralston: Amputated his lower right Arm to Survive the Mountains

On May 2003, while Aron Ralston was on a canyoneering trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder fell and pinned his right forearm, crushing it.

After trying for five days to lift and break the boulder, desperation took him to great measures like carving his name, date of birth and date of death into the boulder, drinking his own urine because of lack of water and videotaping his last goodbyes to his family. Finally, a dehydrated and delirious Ralston decided to bow his arm against a chockstone and snap the radius and ulna bones. Using the dull blade on his multiuse tool, he cut the soft tissue around the break. He then used the tool’s pliers to tear at the tougher tendons. After Ralston was rescued, his arm was retrieved by park authorities and removed from under the boulder. It was cremated and given to Ralston. He returned to the boulder and left the ashes there.

Mauro Prosperi: Survived 9 days in the Sahara Desert

Prosperi, a keen endurance runner, took part in the 1994 Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) in Morocco. Part way through the 6-day 233 kilometre event a sandstorm caused Prosperi to lose his way. He ended up disoriented and ran in the wrong direction, ultimately running several hundred kilometres into Algeria. After 36 hours he ran out of food and water. He survived by drinking his own urine and eating bats resident in an abandoned mosque and the occasional snake found in the desert.

Not wishing to die a long drawn out death, Prosperi attempted to commit suicide in the mosque by slitting his wrists with a pen knife he had with him. The attempt failed – lack of water had caused Prosperi’s blood to thicken and clotted the wound before he died. After nine days alone in the desert he was found by a nomadic family and taken to an Algerian military camp and from there to a hospital. He was 186 miles off route, and reportedly had lost between 30 and 40 pounds (18 kg) in body weight.

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