Frane Selak is a Croatian music teacher who has escaped death seven times, and afterward won the lottery in 2003, prompting journalists to dub him “the world’s luckiest man”, and “world’s luckiest unluckiest man”.
Brushes with death
Selak’s supposed brushes with death started in January 1962 when he was riding a train through a cold, rainy canyon and the train flipped off the tracks and crashed in a river. Someone pulled Selak to safety, while 17 other passengers drowned. Selak suffered a broken arm and hypothermia.
The next year, during his first and only plane ride, he was blown out of a malfunctioning plane door and landed in a haystack; the plane crashed, killing 19 people.
Three years after that, in 1966, a bus that he was riding skidded off the road and into a river, drowning four passengers. Selak swam to shore with a few cuts and bruises.
In 1968 Selak was teaching his youngest son how to hold a gun when the safety trigger was accidentally off and Selak managed to shoot himself in one of his testicles. He was taken to hospital where the casing from the bullet was found, and his testicle had to be removed.
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In 1970 his car caught fire as he was driving and he managed to escape before the fuel tank blew up. Three years later, in another driving incident, the engine of his car was doused with hot oil from a malfunctioning fuel pump, causing flames to shoot through the air vents. Selak’s hair was completely singed in this incident, but he was otherwise unharmed.
In 1995, he was struck by a bus in Zagreb, but sustained only minor injuries. In 1996 he eluded a head-on collision with a United Nations truck on a mountain curve by swerving into a guardrail, which gave way under the force of his car; he was ejected from the car when the door flew open (he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt) and watched his car plummet down 90 metres (300 ft) into a gorge.
In 2003, two days after his 73rd birthday, Selak won €800,000 (US $1,110,000) in the lottery. At the time of his win, he also married for the fifth time. While he purchased two houses and a boat with his winnings, in 2010 he decided to give most of the remaining money away to relatives and friends after deciding to live a frugal lifestyle.