People often call Frano Selak "the luckiest man in the world" for surviving seven separate brushes with death, but the 89-year-old former music teacher from Croatia sees things differently.
"I always think I was unlucky to have been in [these accidents] in the first place but you can't tell people what they don't want to believe," Selak told The Telegraph in 2010.
Selak's first death-defying escape came in 1962, when his train from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik jumped the tracks and careened into an icy river, drowning 17 fellow passengers. Selak himself suffered a broken arm and hypothermia. A year later, on his first and only airplane flight, the plane went down, killing 19. Incredibly, Selak was sucked out of a malfunctioning door and landed unharmed in a haystack [source: Hough].
The hits just kept on coming. Selak was on a bus that skidded off the road into yet another icy river. Two of his cars caught fire, one burning off his hair. He was hit by a bus in Zagreb. And in 1996, he swerved to avoid an oncoming truck and barreled off the road, leaping free at the last second as his car plunged 300 feet (91 meters) off a cliff.
The only truly lucky thing that happened to Selak was winning $1 million when he bought his first-ever lottery ticket in 2005 to celebrate his fifth marriage. "I guess all the earlier marriages were disasters too," Selak joked to the Telegraph.
Author's Note: 10 People with Incredible Bad Luck
There's nothing that makes you feel quite as lucky as reading about other people's misfortunes. Not that any of these people deserved the bad luck that befell them, nor am I reveling in their misery. It just makes you grateful that your life is full of ordinary bad luck — missing your connecting flight to Dallas, locking your keys in the car — and not the life-altering kind. It's also heartening to learn that after initial struggles, most of the people on our list came to terms with their situation and even emerged thankful for their missed opportunities and lousy luck. Good for them!
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- Connolly, Ray. "Pete Best: The happiest Beatle of all." Daily Mail. April 7, 2007 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-447201/Pete-Best-The-happiest-Beatle-all.html
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- Hough, Andrew. "Frano Selak: 'world's luckiest man' gives away his lottery fortune." The Telegraph. May 14, 2010 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7721985/Frano-Selak-worlds-luckiest-man-gives-away-his-lottery-fortune.html
- Martin, Emmie. "Apple just hit a $1 trillion market cap — here's why its little-known third co-founder sold his 10% share for $800." CNBC. Aug. 2, 2018 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/02/why-ronald-wayne-sold-his-10-percent-stake-in-apple-for-800-dollars.html
- McNeill, David. "How I Survived Hiroshima — and Then Nagasaki." The Independent. March 26, 2009 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/how-i-survived-hiroshima-ndash-and-then-nagasaki-1654294.html
- Nobel, Justin. "The True Story of History's Only Known Meteorite Victim." National Geographic. Feb. 20, 2013 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/02/130220-russia-meteorite-ann-hodges-science-space-hit/
- Roy, Amit. "Thank God! Jason and Jenny Aren't Coming Here." The Telegraph of India. Dec. 2, 2008 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/thank-god-jason-jenny-aren-t-coming-here/cid/515963
- Sack, Kevin. "Richard Jewell, 44, Hero of Atlanta Attack, Dies." The New York Times. Aug. 30, 2007 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/30/us/30jewell.html
- Wayne, Ron. "Why I Left Apple Computer After Only 12 Days, In My Own Words." Facebook. Feb. 22, 2012 (Oct. 22, 2018) https://www.facebook.com/RonGWayne/posts/370073493010333
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