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The Luckiest or Unluckiest Man Alive
Frane Selak survived seven near death experiences and a lottery win.
Whether you are a glass half full or empty person will decide whether you think Frane Selak was the luckiest man alive or unluckiest.
Everyone who wins the lottery is considered lucky. When people looked into the life of Selak, he was considered extremely lucky because he had survived seven life-or-death incidents.
This streak of incidents started in 1962.
Selak was travelling on train from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. Everything was going well on the journey when the train shook and came off the rails.
The derailment was the least of the passengers' problems as it crashed into an icy lake. Despite suffering from hypothermia and a broken arm, Selak said he swam to safety and survived while several others perished.
After this accident, the thirty-two-year-old was not keen on travel. Still, when he received word his mother was ill, he was determined to fly from Zagreb to Rijeka.
The first flight he found was fully booked, but he persuaded the sympathetic airline to let him sit in the plane's rear with the flight attendant.
This was his first air travel experience, which was going smoothly until just before landing. One of the plane's doors flew off. Selak told The Telegraph. "One minute, we were drinking tea and the next, the door was ripped open and the flight attendant was sucked into mid-air, followed shortly by me."
Selak states that the plane crashed, killing all on board except himself. Miraculously, he had fallen onto a haystack, which cushioned his fall. This might sound a little unbelievable until you learn he is not the first to be saved by haystack.
A Serbian flight attendant named Vesna Vulović survived a 33,300-foot fall out of a plane after terrorists detonated a bomb in the skies over Czechoslovakia in 1972.
This was not the end of his bad/good luck. In 1966, he was on a bus that skidded into a river, leaving four dead. He swam to the bank with minor cuts and bruises.
In 1970, Selak was driving a car that caught fire whilst he was driving. It exploded with him just fleeing to safety. Another car crash occurred three years later, almost identical to the first.
Everything seemed to improve for Selak, and he had twenty years of safe living until, in 1995, he survived after being hit by a bus in Zagreb.
Selak commented that many of his friends hesitated to get into a vehicle and travel with him, and who can blame them?
Shortly after this accident, Selak won the lottery with a jackpot reported at £600,000. His story circulated throughout the world as the luckiest man alive.
During this time, though, people started to doubt the validity of his story. Researchers found no official records of the fatal Croatian plane and train crashes.
There were also inconsistencies in his own story. In 2003, he had said he played the lottery consistently, yet later, when he spoke to The Telegraph in 2010, he said it was the first ticket he had bought. He won the first time he played.
Truth or Fiction
There appear to be too many discrepancies for some to believe the fantastic story of Frane Selak. In 2010, Selak decided that the lottery win could not buy him happiness.
He decided to live a modest life with his fifth wife, sold his luxury home on a private island and gave his fortune to friends and family. He then moved back to Zagreb into a small house, where he teaches music in his 80s.
Selak said. "I was either the unluckiest man in the world or the luckiest. I preferred to believe the latter."
Either that or Selak is one of the best storytellers of the modern day.
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