There are a lot of things that human beings have done that shock and amaze the rest of us. In fact, you very well might have done something impressive yourself. However, some people have gone above and beyond the call of their humanity just to survive. They would not die, refusing to go with Death when his cold hand touched them. You might be surprised by some of the most amazing accidents people walked away from.
Some of them had a survival percentage of less than 5% while others had a less than 1% survival possibility. Yet somehow, in spite of all possible issues in front of them, they survived. We ask you to join us for our list discussing some of these amazing incidents that would have normally ended the life of a normal person. We guarantee you’ll be shocked by many of these stories. Ladies and gentlemen, this is our list of the most amazing accidents people walked away from.
Forcing Through A Hole Far Too Small
Person Involved:Matthew Lowe
Year Accident Took Place:2008
Matthew Lowe is lucky to be alive. Moving at incredibly fast speeds has resulted in some major accidents that very few people could survive. When moving fast and attempting to go through a hole far too small, you could risk breaking bones, decapitation, and much more. Yet somehow, Lowe was able to survive this possible death. The story goes that Lowe was working when his overalls were caught in a factory machine that transports metal parts.
When this happened, he was being pulled and literally felt his skin rip and even heard his arm snap. The machine was yanking him with major force through just a five-inch opening on a conveyer. Somehow, the machine eventually decided just to spit him out on the other end. He sustained a broken back, pelvis, hips, and ribs along with a ruptured stomach and bowel. While he needed six operations and some metal pins put in, he lived and eventually returned to work. That’s the employee of the month!
Michael Waltrip is one of the best NASCAR drivers in history. While his brother Darrell might be more notable and successful, Michael has been impressive on his own. He won the 2001 and 2003 Daytona 500 in his career. He’s retired today and can mostly be seen as a commentator for the NASCAR Cup Series among numerous other race events. Yet Waltrip is lucky to be alive today after a major accident at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1990.
In one of the most amazing accidents people have walked away from, Waltrip went into a major crash during the race. By the time the crash ended, he was in the roll cage but it had been mangled and broken. Somehow, it protected Michael long enough to survive the crash. Most who watched it happen rightly assumed that they just watch a man die because his car was literally crushed with a lot of the car managing to fly off during the crash. Yet he lived to tell the tale.
José Salvador Alvarenga did something that no one had ever done before him. He survived adrift at sea, but he was not on some nice ship, yacht, or anything of the sort. He was in what was basically a lifeboat. The story goes that Alvarenga and a friend went to go fishing on the Pacific coast of Mexico’s southern Chiapas state in November 2012. The plan was to be gone no more than 30 hours as they hunted sharks, tuna, and even mahi-mahi. Yet a few hours in, they were hit by a huge storm that lasted for five days, throwing them off of their original course.
Their radio did not work, nor did the other electronics. Their boat motor was damaged and there was no way to get out of their predicament. A search party was initially sent out but after two days, they found nothing. Assumed dead, the two men survived by eating raw fish, turtles, and jellyfish while drinking rainwater to remain hydrated. Sadly, the friend began getting sick off of raw food and died. Alvarenga spent nine more months at sea alone. He then somehow saw the small Marshall Islands, 13 months after setting out, and was rescued.
Australian Outback Hitchhikers Leaves Man For Dead
Person Involved:Ricky Megee
Year Accident Took Place: 2006
It might be hard to label what happened to Ricky Megee as one of the accidents people walked away from, considering his situation was no accident, but we’ll explain. In January 2006, Megee was driving through the Australian Outback on his way to his work when he picked up hitchhikers. The next thing he claims to remember was waking up in a shallow grave somewhere in the Outback, and dingoes scratching at the plastic that was wrapped over him.
Megee survived for 71 days, living off of frogs, leeches, snakes, and even drinking his own urine. He even barricaded his shelter at night with rocks so that animals would not come in and attack him at night. Workers on a remote cattle ranch spotted Megee and saved him. Now as thin as a skeleton, he was drastically malnourished and dehydrated. While his story is a good one, many believe he had a random dumb accident and used the hitchhiker story to cover the real issue up.
A man with the amazing name of Forthman Murff had been a lifelong lumberjack. He had a chainsaw that he used for work on numerous projects. One day in 1984, the now 74-year-old was cutting down trees with the chainsaw in an area close to his home. Yet on this day, he nearly died. When trimming trees, a branch fell and knocked Murff out as well as causing him to fall into a ditch. His fall broke his leg and only further KOed the man. Yet his chainsaw never turned off.
Once he woke up, he realized his chainsaw was cutting into his neck. He managed to stand up and position his head so that blood did not run down his windpipe. He then drove himself roughly half a mile to his neighbor’s house who took him to the hospital. Doctors discovered he had sawn through his windpipe, esophagus, and jugular veins. That left just the spine and some skin holding his head in place. This was one of the accidents people walked away from that still shocks us.
While not exactly one of the accidents people walked away from, we do consider it an accident considering no one could properly plan well enough for weather issues. Matt Suter survived a brush with death that few can claim. He was thrown by a tornado in March 2006 when a tornado picked up his mobile home in Fordland, Missouri.
After being sucked up by the tornado, it spat Suter and his home out 398 meters (or 1,305 feet) from his original location. Somehow surviving, Suter is lucky enough to also have the Guinness World Record for the furthest distance to be thrown by a tornado and survive. Issues like this are obviously rare and considered “act of God” situations. Yet we have to wonder how his home insurance covered those damages.
Waking up and getting out of bed in the morning is tough for many of us, but how about performing surgery on yourself? This happened to Dr. Leonid Rogozov in April of 1961. He had appendicitis but was in the Soviet Antarctic and unable to get to a proper surgeon. Yet everyone knew he needed to have the appendix removed before it killed him. None of the 12 researchers at this Antarctic facility had medical training, so he had to do things all on his own.
He could not use anesthesia to be all loopy because, of course, HE was the one performing the surgery. He used just a shot of Novacaine for his initial incision. This was only a local anesthetic too! He used a mirror to help but it quickly became useless to him. The doctor then had to just operate on himself by touch alone. Rogozov apparently removed the appendix just in time, as it was truly ready to burst. He just needed two weeks of recovery before returning to work.
Ron Hunt was like any other construction worker in Truckee, California. He went to work and put in a hard day’s labor, then returned home each day. But one day in 2003, he fell down to the ground suddenly as his ladder gave out from under him. At the time, the standard practice in times like this is to throw one’s drill as far away as possible. Yet Hunt did not throw it far enough and his head smashed right into the drill.
The drill bit that forced its way into Hunt’s skull was 18 inches long and about 1.5 inches thick. Any situation like this normally would be a story about some crazy death. But this is an article about the most amazing accidents people walked away from. Of course, he survived. The drill bit wedged its way through his eye and right out of the side of the skull. It did not tear any brain tissue, only pushing it said. Although Hunt’s eye was pretty bad, his brain was completely fine.
When you think about accidents people walked away from, we traditionally consider some of the incidents mentioned previously. Not literally being cut in half! But this is just what Truman Duncan experienced in 2006. Sadly, while on a train in Cleburne, Texas he fell onto the tracks. A repairman for the rail yards in Cleburne, he knew that the fall could be deadly so he tried to thrust himself back to avoid being crushed. Yet he was caught underneath it instead.
Roughly 9,000 kilograms or roughly 19,800 lbs of metal passed over him and destroyed most of his middle and lower body. But somehow, he remained conscious and was able to call 911 from his own cell phone. Once he arrived at the hospital, surgeons tried to make him stable. It took 23 surgeries over the course of 4 months to save his life. He would lose his left leg, most of his right, one kidney, and his entire pelvis. Yet he lived, and even returned to work months afterward, but in the office instead.
Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb Crash Of 2012
Person Involved:Jeremy Foley
Year Accident Took Place:2012
When Jeremy Foley decided to compete in the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in 2012, he did not expect to have a problem with the mountain. Many have blasted up this mountain at crazy speeds, so Foley was no different. However, any mistake here could be disastrous. That is just what happened to Foley, as he sped across a turn that caused his vehicle to slide off. That resulted in more than just a mere slide off the road.
Now, Foley was seeing himself violently fall down the entire mountain! His vehicle would begin to roll on its side all the way down, slowly but surely being torn into pieces on the way down. The entire time, Jeremy was inside praying he’d survive the mountain top fall. Yet on this day, Death was able to rest as Foley managed to survive the fall. It is still, nearly a decade later, one of the most amazing accidents people walked away from in racing history.
When the Titanic set out for its maiden voyage, everyone was excited to see what would come of it. Many, especially those with money, thought the idea of Luxury travel by ship seemed like a great idea. Traveling the world in style? How could you possibly use your wealth better? While the Titanic had luxury opportunities for the first class, the rest of the ship did not have these opportunities. Once the Titanic, thought to be unsinkable, hit an iceberg, it only took just two hours to sink completely.
To make the ship “appear” more luxurious, they decided not to add enough lifeboats for everyone on board. This caused mass panic on board, where more first and second-class people made it to the boats but the rest did not. It was widely reported that those below were barricaded in to save the richer people. Roughly 2,224 passengers and crew were aboard and 1,500 of those people died. While it was one of the accidents people walked away from, that cannot be said for most aboard.
It is said by some that if people were meant to fly, we would be given wings. New Zealand skydiving instructor, Michael Holmes, found this out the hard way. We know from basic science that what goes up, must come down. Gravity cannot be stopped even for the best of us, and Holmes realized just how impactful a fall can be. He lept out of a plane in 2009, something he did often as an instructor.
Yet unlike all skydiving adventures he went on, his first parachute did not open. Neither did his backup. Now, Holmes faced sure death as he was falling at roughly 70 mph straight to the ground below. He was sure to die, right? Somehow, Holmes lucked out and landed in a blackberry bush. While he still hit hard, the bush cushioned his fall. He only sustained a broken ankle and collapsed lung. This is still one of the most shocking accidents that people walked away from.
Greg Rasmussen would tell you himself that he should be dead today. He fits our list of accidents that people walked away from very well, as he had to deal with numerous problems to survive. First, his plane was being hit by strong winds in 2003 which caused him to crash in the African bush. Surviving the crash alone was not easy, but now he had to somehow survive the horrific African elements. For 27 straight hours, Rasmussen was subjected to dehydration and horrible heat.
He also had several animal encounters that would be tough for any man, especially for a man who crashed in a plane. He was charged at by a herd of elephants, stalked by a lioness, and even approached by hungry hyenas. Yet he still dragged himself back to the wreckage of his plane with two broken legs and a fractured pelvis. Once help arrived, doctors feared they would not save his legs. However, 100 operations and three inches of height cut later, they managed to save them.
We all know by now how important the human brain is to our survival. Without it, no one could truly live. While we could talk about consciousness and that rabbit hole for three articles, that is another story for another time. The point is, the brain is important and Phineas Gage nearly was impaled completely through his. In 1848, he was working on a railroad when a 3.5-foot, 13-pound rod went into his head during an explosion.
He had been using it to pack a hole meant packed with explosives but did not move it. The rod went through his jaw, brain, and skull. It did not just stick in, the thing went in and exited out at a high speed. Part of Gage’s brain was even on the thing. To the surprise of everyone, he survived. Gage lived another 12 years, though suffering from seizures and major emotional/cognitive problems as well as a drooping eyelid. We felt he was more than deserving of our list of accidents people walked away from.
This is not just one of the most amazing accidents people walked away from. It is also a story of friendship, we’ll explain. Two men, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were climbing the Peruvian Andes together when Simpson somehow broke his leg. Yates did his best to get his friend back to safety using a rope to lower Simpson down a mountain ledge. Sadly, Yates ran out of rope and had to cut the line. He didn’t want to do it, but both men wanted at least one of them to live.
Yates cut the line while Simpson fell to a ledge just below. Joe did not sustain any new injuries but he was sure to die with a broken leg in the middle of nowhere, right? No! Simpson literally crawled a total of 6 miles over the span of 4 days to make his way back to camp. Once he made it, Yates had already made it back to the camp shortly before him and the two saw each other again to the amazement of both men.
While the atomic bombs being dropped on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not accidents, one could say what happened to Tsutomu Yamaguchi certainly was. The story goes that Yamaguchi was working as an engineer in 1945 for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Hiroshima on August 6th when the bomb hit. While many were killed in the bombing, Yamaguchi somehow survived and would be taken to a hospital for treatment.
In spite of what he experienced, the Japanese engineer returned to work on August 9th. That morning, went into work in Nagasaki where he actually got into an argument with his manager there. Telling him what he experienced days before, people did not believe what Yamaguchi claimed. But shortly after this, another atomic bomb hit Nagasaki. In spite of all of this, Yamaguchi still survived. He would not die until 2010, at the age of 93!
Juliane Koepcke just graduated from high school in 1971 and that Christmas Eve she and her mother would take a flight along with 90 other people. Yet the flight experienced heavy turbulence that had all the hallmarks that a crash would be happening any moment. She held her mother’s hand, preparing for the end. All of a sudden, the plane somehow opened up, sucking her out and sending her into the Peruvian Rainforest.
Juliane does not remember how it happened due to being unconscious at the time. She told the BBC that she woke up with a ruptured knee ligament and a broken collarbone, only in the sleeveless mini-dress she wore on the plane. Not to mention, she was missing her eyeglasses that she used to see properly. Her parents happened to be smart wilderness types, so Juliane knew how to survive. In spite of all threats around her, she lasted 10 days in the dangerous rainforest before rescue arrived.
Dr. Anna Bågenholm is still a mystery to science to this day. She lands on our list of accidents people walked away from due to literally defying modern science. The story goes that Bågenholm was skiing in 1999 around a waterfall when she accidentally fell headfirst into the freezing water, becoming trapped under the ice for nearly 80 minutes. Initially, she found a small air pocket to help her breathe, but this only lasted for about 30 minutes.
The tremendous cold and major exhaustion forced her back underwater where she’d spend another 40 minutes. Yet Bågenholm was soon rescued and taken to the hospital. Her heart had been stopped for two hours by this point and her body temperature was lower than 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Both are normally fatal but she somehow came back to life as doctors managed to get her functional again after nine hours! Although she lost some fine motor skills, Anna did not suffer brain damage.
In the world of science, accidents can happen. This is why we’d need another entire list to discuss science accidents people walked away from. But we feel this specific incident is worthy of this list. In 1978, Russian physicist Anatoli Bugorski was hit with a proton beam in the head. A particle accelerator was being used to speed up the beam literally to the speed of light. At the time of the incident, nothing like this had ever happened before. Meaning no one knew what would happen to Anatoli.
Most were under the assumption that the beam killed Bugorski right there, but Anatoli claimed to not experience any pain at all during the time of the accident. He did say that he saw a light brighter than anything he had experienced before. Somehow, he did manage to survive. Although he had hearing loss in his left ear and partial paralysis on the left side of his face. These were his only injuries and he lived what would be a relatively normal life afterward.
Some might not call this an accident as much as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but we’ll explain. New Yorker Joseph Guzman attended a bachelor party with some friends. Apparently, the group got quite drunk and upon leaving a nightclub, undercover officers claimed to see them with a gun. Police officers saw Guzman and the other men as a threat and began shooting at them. Roughly 50 rounds were fired at the men, with 19 of them hitting Guzman directly. No gun was found.
Guzman was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered 19 bullet wounds with seven still inside him. Of course, they needed to be removed and doctors did just that. Overall, Guzman was hit in the legs, chest, abdomen, and one of the bullets even shattered his cheekbone. Doctors had to drain a liter and a half of blood from his chest and gave him a tetanus shot. Today, Joseph walks with a limp and had to have 37 surgeries and 15 blood transfusions after this incident.
Olympic Paraglider Ewa Wisnierska is experienced with her equipment and knew how to get out of problematic situations while gliding. Yet one incident even she could not escape. While on a practice glide in 2007, storm clouds randomly gathered above her. She went on the glide through the Australian countryside, so she dressed for the warmth. This might have been a mistake. As the storm came through, high winds would dramatically whisk her up 70 feet per second.
She managed to get to 30,000 feet above the ground before long. This began to make her freeze all while she was being hit hard by hail the size of tennis balls, bruising her body as they hit. Ewa eventually ended up 40 miles from where she began her glide. Due to how high she had gotten, she fell unconscious but managed to wake up after a bit and steered herself out of the sky and onto a farm. Outside of the bruises, her worst injury from the incident was just frostbite.
Aron Ralston is famous for inspiring the movie 127 Hours, so most know his story by now. If you’re not familiar, he decided to hike the Bluejohn Canyon in the Canyonlands National Park alone in 2003. While descending into one of the more narrow canyons, a boulder randomly fell and trapped his right arm. For five days, he only survived off of the water and snacks he packed for himself. Yet Ralston did not tell anyone where he was going so he did not know if rescue would ever come.
This was a remote spot too, so he was lucky if even animals came through. Running low on supplies and assuming he’d never be found, Aron was forced to amputate his own arm. He used a multi-tool to cut through the bone. After freeing himself, he then walked seven miles back to his truck. He also never lost too much blood, somehow. During the journey, a family discovered him and alerted authorities. In total, he lost 40 pounds. Today, Aron is still a mountaineer as well as a motivational speaker.
Vesna Vulović was a relatively new flight attendant for Yugoslav Airlines when she was part of a flight from Copenhagen to Belgrade. She’d never forget the date, January 26, 1972. Once the aircraft was flying over the Czech Republic, the plane suddenly exploded due to a briefcase bomb aboard the flight (assumed to be placed by Croatian nationalists). This caused the plane to take a 33,000 feet freefall. Somehow Vesna survived the crash but suffered a fractured skull, three broken vertebrae, broken legs, broken ribs, and a broken pelvis.
She was even temporarily paralyzed from her injuries. When asked about what happened, Vesna does not recall the incident itself. Only that the plane exploded and she woke up injured. Following her rescue, she spent days in an induced coma and then spent several months in a hospital. In spite of everything, she made a full recovery with only a slight limp afterward. On an interesting note, she holds the Guinness World Record for the longest freefall without a parachute (33,000 feet). Something tells us this record might never be broken.
Shannon Malloy sadly suffered a car crash and was nearly decapitated. When she arrived at the hospital after her accident, doctors discovered she had severed all of her ligaments and tendons that connected her skull to her spinal cord. Her head was literally hanging on by muscle tissue and skin, which the medical community refers to as an “internal decapitation.” The spinal professional who saw her claimed he never saw anything like it before.
The good news for Malloy was that her spinal cord was perfectly fine. This allowed doctors to reset her head/skull to even it back up with her spinal cord where it needed to be. Shannon was apparently awake during the procedure and claimed she felt her head slip off about five times during it. The surgeons did get things set properly and Shannon would need to recover for several months. Although she does have some sight and speech issues, she did not suffer any paralysis somehow.
The Unluckiest – Or Maybe Luckiest Man In The World
Person Involved:Frane Selak
Year(s) Accidents Took Place:1962, 1966, 1970, 1995, 1996
We could likely do an entire list about Frane Selak. When we discuss accidents people have walked away from, it is likely that Frane has walked away from most of them himself! His issue first began in 1962 when he was on a train that derailed and crashed into a frozen river. It killed 17 people, but not Selak. Not even a year later, Frane was on a plane when a door blew off of it mid-flight. That resulted in the plane crashing, killing 19 people but not Selak.
He survived by being sucked out and though unconscious by this point, he landed in a haystack. After this, Frane survived a bus crash that killed four people but not him. In three separate periods, his car caught on fire, he was hit by a bus, and his car exploding on him. Selak then barely escaped a head-on collision with a truck, but his vehicle would roll 300 feet down the side of a mountain. Oh and at age 73, he bought his first lottery ticket in 40 years… and he freakin won! This man spits at death.