The news constantly features stories about freak accidents where people were horribly injured and on death's doorstep but miraculously managed to survive. Did Fate intervene or was it quick-thinking people (and highly-skilled medic teams) that saved these people's lives? Whether you believe in a higher power or you just believe that some people are incredibly lucky, these stories of people who have survived near-death experiences will move you.
1. The train operator who lost half his body.
Meet Duncan Truman. Duncan worked as a railroad switchman. On a routine day at his job, he was riding on the front of a train car, when he accidentally fell onto the track. Duncan attempted to hang on to the car so he could run backwards to escape being run over by the train. Unfortunately, he lost his hold and got caught in the train's undercarriage. His body was run over by the train's massive steel wheels. The 20,000 pound weight of the train severed half of Duncan's body.
When the train finally came to a halt 20 meters away from Duncan Truman, the entire lower half of his body was still under the wheels. The astonishing part is that Duncan was still conscious after the freak accident and was able to calmly call 9-1-1 for help. It took 45 minutes for responders to arrive and remove him from under the train. During this time, Duncan remained conscious and was even able to call his family. He underwent 23 surgeries over 4 months, and although he no longer has a lower half to his body, Duncan is alive and well today. Duncan told Today.com that he believes God had some hand in his survival. Explaining his will to survive he stated, “I wanted to see my babies grow up, just like everybody else. I just wanted to live so I could see my kids grow up.”
2. The man with half a head.
Have you heard the story of Carlos Rodriguez? According to the Daily Mail, Carlos, who also goes by the nickname "Sosa," got into a freak car crash where he lost half of his head. Carlos recounts how he was drinking and doing drugs when he decided to go for a drive. Being heavily inebriated, Carlos lost control of the car and crashed which sent him flying through the windshield and landing on his head.
The car crash caused Carlos to lose a large portion of his brain and skull. The only way for Carlos to survive the horrific accident was for doctors to cut away large amounts of flesh and bone from his head. Although much of his cranium is missing, Mr. Rodriguez has been able to continue his life in Miami, Florida.
3. The guy who almost beheaded himself.
This is Tom Connelly. Tom works as a tree surgeon, cutting down parts of trees for a living. In a horrible accident, Tom nearly beheaded himself while on the job. While he was cutting off a branch of a horse chestnut tree, Tom slipped into the 12-inch blade of the chainsaw, slashing his neck and left arm. The chainsaw cut through a third of his neck and severed his jugular vein.
Tom severed nearly every blood vessel in his neck, and doctors said he was just one millimeter away from cutting through his carotid artery, which would have killed him. As it was, he lost an incredible three liters of blood and would have bled to death within three minutes had his colleagues and emergency medical teams not acted so quickly. Tom was told he would probably be in the hospital for three weeks but was discharged after just five days. Doctors stated that his recovery was remarkable and five weeks later Tom was back at work part-time, carrying out light duties.
4. The man who had his toilet explode and nearly kill him.
Have you heard the story of Michael Pierre from New York City and the toilet bowl that almost killed him? On a seemingly normal day, the water in Michael's building was turned off for maintenance. Michael was curious about how his toilet would flush after it was turned back on, so he went into the bathroom to check on the water pressure. But as he was checking the toilet, something went seriously wrong. A freak accident caused the toilet to explode like a bomb, blasting into tiny shards of porcelain shrapnel striking Michael on his head, arms, and legs.
Although Michael Pierre's wounds from the toilet explosion required him to get 30 stitches, he is lucky to be alive. An explosion that huge could have killed someone, but Michael survived. Not surprisingly, Michael is now terrified of his toilet. He stands behind his bathroom door and uses a rope to flush. Four toilets exploded in the building that day. Michael was just the only one to be present in the bathroom when it happened.
5. The woman who almost died from a rogue umbrella.
This woman survived a freak accident after falling face down onto her umbrella. Sharon Palmer was chatting with her friend when she suddenly collapsed off a chair, hitting her head on a mirror and table before landing on the umbrella. In a terrible twist of fate, when Sharon fell, the handle of the umbrella handle pierced her cheek and the umbrella's fabric was lodged in her throat, blocking her airways. Miraculously, her friend Jane dislodged the umbrella from her throat and rushed her to the hospital in the nick of time. Doctors told Sharon she was extremely fortunate; not only could she have stopped breathing, the slightest move could have blinded her.
6. The lady who was internally decapitated and survived.
Meet Shannon Malloy. After a near-fatal car crash, Shannon was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered that she had severed every single ligament and tendon connecting her skull to her spinal cord. Shannon's head was connected to her body only by skin and muscle tissue. This is called an "internal decapitation" in the medical field. The spinal surgeon who treated her said he had never seen anyone survive such an injury, because the head is a fairly important part of your body. The good news is that Shannon's spinal cord was still in working condition. The doctors worked hard to set her skull back on her spine.
According to an ABC News report, five screws were drilled into her neck, while four more were drilled into her head to keep it stabilized before a circular metal bar was attached for support. This was not an easy task as Shannon recounted how she felt that her skull slipped off five times during the procedure! Luckily, the procedure was a success and Ms. Malloy avoided being paralyzed from the accident.
7. The woman who was submerged in ice-cold water for 80 minutes and lived to tell the story.
Dr. Anna Elisabeth Johansson Bågenholm survived a skiing accident in 1999 that left her trapped under a layer of ice for 80 minutes in freezing water. While a rescue team sprinted down the snowy ski slope to save Anna, she underwent extreme hypothermia and her body temperature decreased to 13.7 °C (56.7 °F). This is one of the lowest recorded body temperatures of a living human being. When medics arrived and rushed her to the hospital, she had suffered circulatory arrest and had no pulse. But doctors refused to give up on her.
At the hospital, surgeons rerouted Anna Bågenholm's blood through a heart-lung machine and slowly warmed it. It took more than three hours after her heart had stopped for the surgeons to get it beating again. Bågenholm miraculously survived the whole ordeal but underwent a year of recovery from paralysis until her damaged nerves healed. Anna doesn't remember any of the events of the tragic accident. But her case did make the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, and stands as a challenge to doctors confronted with victims of severe hypothermia.
8. And finally, the man who survived SEVEN near-deaths!
This is Frane Selak, and he is nicknamed "the luckiest man alive" because he has cheated death seven times and for another reason too. According to this report, Frane has survived all of the following:
- a train ride gone awry that plunged into an ice-cold river
- jumping out of a crashing plane (without a parachute!) and landing on a large haystack
- a bus ride that ended up skidding into a river
- jumping out of his car moments before it exploded
- driving a car that had flames blowing through the air vents
- being knocked down by a bus
- crashing through a mountain-road barrier and almost plunging down a 300-foot cliff
Amazing, right? Well, not only was he lucky for surviving those near death experiences, but he decided to test his luck another way.
Frane Selak bought a lottery ticket at the age of 73 to celebrate his fifth marriage. He ended up winning $1 million dollars. But after having cheated death so many times, Mr. Selak said he realized what really matters. He gave away most of his winnings to friends and family and now lives a modest and frugal life with his loving wife.