Vesna Vulovic: The Stewardess Who Survived a terrorist attack at 33,000 feetOn January 26, 1972, a Yugoslav Airlines DC-9 departed from Copenhagen for Belgrade (via Zagreb) with 28 passengers and crew. At an altitude of 33,000 feet, a bomb in the cargo section, planted by the Ustashe Croatian separatist group, exploded. The plane disintegrated and crashed on the mountains.
In what must be one of the greatest survival stories of all time, stewardess Vesna Vulovic survived the 33,000 foot descent sitting on the tail of the plane.
Vulovic spent several months in and out of hospitals; operations allowed her to walk again. She became a celebrity when the Guinness Book of World Records invited her to a ceremony in London with Paul McCartney. She is listed for surviving the longest fall without a parachute. Vulovic is now a national hero in Serbia and spent the late 90s marching in Belgrade against Slobodan Milosovic.
Frane Selak: Escaped from a derailed train, a door-less plane, a bus crash, a car into flames, another 2 car accidents... then won Million Dollar lottery!
A year later, Selak was flying, from Zagreb to Rijeka, when a door abruptly blew away from the cockpit of the plane, as he was blown off the plane. The accident killed 19 people, however, Selak was lucky enough to land on a haystack, and wake up some days later in hospital, with minor injuries.
It was in 1966 that he met with the third misadventure while traveling on a bus that crashed and plunged into a river. There were four people dead. Astonishingly, Selak managed to escape unharmed again.
In 1970, Selak was driving along when, all of a sudden, his car caught fire. He was fortunate again to have left the car before the fuel tank exploded. Three years later, another of Selak’s car caught fire, blowing flames through the air vents. To a greater dismay, Selak's lost most of his hair.
In 1995, Selak was in Zagreb when he was hit by a bus, again leaving nothing but a few injuries. The following year, while driving through a mountain road, Selak drove off a guardrail to escape an oncoming truck and landed on a tree to watch his car explode 300 feet below.
In a surprising turn of events in 2003, Selak won the million-dollar Croatian lottery, turning the man into either the world’s unluckiest man, or the world’s luckiest one.
Andes Survivors: Crashed on the Andes Mountains, lasted 72 days
Twelve people died in the crash. Survivors not only had to withstand the hunger and the fearful Mountains, but also 30 degree-below-zero temperatures during the night. They tried to survive with the scarce food reserves they had until being rescued, but they lost their hope when heard that the search had ceased on the radio. Desperate owing to the lack of food and physically exhausted, they were forced to feed themselves on their death partners to keep on living. Finally fed up with the extremely low temperatures and the avalanche threats, as well as anguished by the continuos deaths of their partners and the bad rescue prospects, two of them decided to cross the huge mountains to reach Chile. On 22nd of December of 1972, after being isolated for 72 days, the World found out and knew there were 16 survivors that beat Death in the Andes mountains.
Anatoli Bugorski: The Man Who Survived a Beam from a Particle Accelerator
The left half of Bugorski’s face swelled up beyond recognition, and over the next several days started peeling off, showing the path that the proton beam (moving near the speed of light) had burned through parts of his face, his bone, and the brain tissue underneath. As it was believed that about 500 to 600 rads is enough to kill a person, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow where the doctors could observe his expected demise. However, Bugorski survived and even completed his Ph.D.. There was virtually no damage to his intellectual capacity, but the fatigue of mental work increased markedly. Bugroski completely lost hearing in the left ear and only a constant, unpleasant internal noise remained. The left half of his face was frozen, due to the destruction of nerves, and does not age. He is able to function perfectly well, save the fact that he has occasional petit mal seizures and very occasional grand mal seizures.