• True Stories

People Who Somehow Survived Multiple Random Tragedies

People who survived multiple awful events are part of a small and select group. Some individuals have an innate ability to be in the wrong place in the wrong time - yet somehow walk away.

Many people who survived accidents or terror attacks are left with lasting psychological problems, including a justifiable fear that they'll fall to yet another calamity. But others prospered and used their near-fatal experiences to teach others the value of life and perseverance.

  • Ford is the only US President to survive two separate assassination attempts - and they were within three weeks of each other. On September 5, 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, fired an M1911 pistol at the President in a crowd in Sacramento, but the gun didn’t go off and Ford was unharmed.

    On September 22, Patty Hearst obsessive Sara Jane Moore pulled a revolver on Ford in San Francisco, but the one shot she got off missed. Both were sentenced to life in prison.

  • Zahrul Fuadi

    Indonesian citizen Fuadi first survived the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami by quickly riding his motorcycle to safety when the tsunami started coming in. He then moved with his family to Sendai, Japan, and while studying for his doctorate there, he survived the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

    The building he was in was slightly damaged, but he and his family were unharmed and stayed in Japan.

  • Frane Selak

    Croatian music teacher Frane Selak is famous for the sheer number of fatal accidents (eight) he’s survived. In 1962, Selak was on a train to Dubrovnik when it derailed into an icy river, killing 17 passengers. He managed to escape with a broken arm. A year later, Selak was flying from Zagreb when a door on the plane blew open and Selak was sucked out. The subsequent crash killed 19 people, but Selak landed on a haystack and only had minor injuries.

    In 1966, he was traveling on a bus that plunged into a river, killing four. Then four years later, his car caught fire, and he escaped before the fuel tank exploded. Three years after that, the engine block of another car Selak owned was doused in hot oil, blowing flames through the air vents. Selak lost most of his hair, but was otherwise unhurt. In 1995, Selak was hit by a bus, sustaining minor injuries, then the next year he drove off a road to escape a head-on collision with a truck, jumping out of his car just before it plunged 300 feet and exploded. And in 1968, he shot off one of his testicles when showing his son how to safely use a gun.

    In luckier news, Selak won the million-dollar Croatian lottery in 2003. Also, none of his claims have been independently verified, meaning he might not be as unlucky as he claims.

  • Roy Sullivan

    Virginia forest ranger Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven different times in his 36 year career – surviving each time. He was struck for the first time in 1942, having a toenail blown off. He was struck by lightning again in 1969, then in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1976, and 1977.

    When it was all over, he had been knocked unconscious; suffered shoulder and ankle injuries; had burns on his hands, face, and scalp; and had his hair singed off twice. His wife was also struck by lighting and survived. Sullivan took his own life in 1983.