Near-death experiences don't always involve the usual white light and fluffy clouds scenario people often talk about. Instead, they are horrifying instances that people are lucky enough to live through while remaining (hopefully) free of trauma.
Regardless, a brush with death will most certainly leave one with a newfound appreciation for life. and a reminder of how very easily it can be taken away. And more often than not, they come at times when people are least expecting them, making such occurrences that much more jarring. Collected from Reddit users, the tales collected below capture the adrenaline rush, the fear, and the strange resignation that comes with the realization that it may just be the end.
Almost Decimated By A Giant Propeller
Growing up, I had an irrational fear of fish. Something about the bright colors, dead eyes and the Challenger Deeps just creeped me out. When my spouse and I decided to go to a tropical island for our honeymoon, I knew this was the perfect time to get over my silly fear of fish by planning a great snorkeling trip.
Our first time out, everything is going great. The water is warm and clear, the fish keep their distance, and aside from being able to constantly hear them eating, I'm pretty relaxed.
I start to get curious about some of the fish, and get confident in my ability to swim with fins. I slowly edge away from the people near me, when something catches my attention. A giant shadow was slowly moving across the coral reef near me.
I figured it was a cloud or something, and wanting to see how it changed the colors of the reef, I swam towards it. The shadow grew as I approached, and quickly, I realized two things. One, I was now very far from my group, and two, the shadow belonged to a giant tour boat. The second one I realized when I popped my head out of the water and saw a giant propeller spinning so close to me.
I could have sworn I felt it sucking me back as I flipped around and swam for my life back towards my spouse, but it was probably just my imagination.
In the end I cured my phobia of fish, by replacing it with one of boats instead.
Slipped While Climbing The Lions At Trafalgar Square
It was 2005, and I was visiting Trafalgar Square in London.
I thought it would be fun to climb one of the four lions and sit on its back for a photo opportunity. Everyone else seemed to be doing it, and the lions didn't look that big in comparison to the Nelson Column - when it's actually five or six meters tall. Being a 10-year-old, I was naturally fearless and didn't think things through.
I climbed onto the lion's back with ease, but shortly after some other (adult) tourist decided to do the same, blocking my exit off down the backside which violated the unspoken etiquette of one person/related group at a time. The only way to get off was to slide down the side of the lion with my two hands acting as a suction pods.
I lost grip, which sent me flying vertically upside-down towards the ground head-on, and these three seconds were the longest in my life. Luckily, some six-foot, 300 lbs. Russian tourist caught me by the ankle when my head was only a few inches from the ground. With a very thick eastern European accent, he asked if I was OK, then smiled and took me over to my parents.
Near Head-On Collision
On my motorcycle I came inches on either side from almost certain death.
I had to do a relatively early morning ride for about an hour down a back country road in Australia. These things have no lines designating lanes and are infamously narrow. It was foggy that morning and I remember it was the scariest morning of my life by far. Before the fog had cleared, I was petrified of simply being on the road. Due to licensing restrictions I was only doing 80 km/h (~50mph) on a 100 km/h road (~60mph), with the fog so thick I was afraid to do even 80, worried I'd hit something in front of me. So I slowed down to about 60, then I suddenly realized if a car approached me from behind there's a good chance I'd be rear-ended. On top of these, I couldn't pull over because there was literally no shoulder of the road to use.
So I endured this torture for about 15 minutes longer and the fog had started to lift. All was going well and I was beginning to enjoy the ride. I approach a random crest and over the top of it come two cars... occupying the only two lanes of the road, heading towards me at a speed differential of probably ~180km/h.
No time to even think, brain goes into panic mode and does its thing, I manage to avoid the car in my lane with such little room between us that I actually elbowed in this guy's side mirror. If I had gone any further to either left or right, I'd have almost definitely been killed. To tge left - gravel, trees and barb wire fences. To the right - head-on with this car. I pulled over as soon as I could and waited, I was so frightened at what had just happened I just cried sitting on the side of the road.
I waited for about 10 minutes and then assumed he wasn't coming back. Would've gone to the police but the best description I could have given was "it was a darkish car with only one side mirror." I called my parents, told them what happened and that I was OK.
Waited around until I stopped shaking, went home, and didn't get on the road again at all for a week.
The Airplane Almost Crashed
I was returning from a holiday with my family in 2006. From the moment we arrived at the airport, there was a massive rainstorm brewing but we'd flown in bad weather in the past so nothing was thought of it.
Fast forward a couple of hours to just after we'd taken off, plane ascending as normal, and then to cruising. The pilot announces over the tannoy system that we were approaching a pretty bad thunderstorm, so there'd be turbulence for a while. Again, we'd flown through turbulence before, so I wasn't too fussed. My kids (eight and eleven at the time) were a little nervous but that's expected of someone so young so my wife tried to calm them down.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere a massive BANG sound erupts through the cabin. The plane sort of veers to the left and begins losing altitude fast. By this time I actually think this is it. I grab my wife and two kids and clench them so hard because I think we're doomed. Then somehow, the pilot steers this plane out of the stall. By stall, I mean nose-diving to the ground. Five minutes later, he announces we'd be making an emergency landing at the next available airport. I have never heard people cry with fear and then joy in the space of 15 minutes.
To sum it up, plane flies through storm, gets hit by lightening, goes into a stall, pilot recovers, everyone survives.