10 People Who Survived The Impossible

Various events in the world have led to the loss of great men and loved ones. The 9/11 attack, Holocausts, tsunamis, wildfires, storms, Air crashes etc. are just a few.  Amidst the unfortunate and disastrous occurrence, some people have survived the impossible.

Some of these impossible survivors had experiences that killed countless others yet they survived. Others had more than one near-death experience and still survived.

These experiences vary from the man who survived seven lightning struck, to the woman who fell 33,300ft from a plane. Similarly, an army officer who lost his eyes, hand, ears etc. And many others but they all survived.

These 10 people who survived the impossible will keep you wondering and asking – how did they survive?  Read on to know the impossible fits they survived.

10 Who Survived The Impossible


Survived the impossible - Adolphe Sax

A lot of us enjoy the Saxophone, those who can play it, derive great pleasure in playing it, while those who can’t play it, have great delight in listening to the sound when it’s being played but many of us don’t have an idea of the story behind the man who invented this instrument.

His name is Aldophe Sax. Sax was born in the year 1814 as Antonie Joseph and three years after his birth, Sax drank from a bowl full of Sulphuric acid and pin which he swallowed but he managed to survive that. Aldophe also survived poisoning and suffocation in his own bedroom where varnished items were kept during the night. He also fell on a  hot cast-iron frying pan that left him with serious bruises. Adolphe childhood was filled with so much of ill luck that his own mother once said: “He is a child of condemned to misfortune”.

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With this amount of misfortune, one would think that the child will have a short life span filled with ill-luck but the reverse was the case as Alphone lived up to 79 years and also went on to invent the popular musical instrument – Saxophone.


Survived the impossible - Vesna Vulovic

Vesna’s life was easy going until the impossible incident she survived struck. The Serbian flight attendant was born on 3rd, January 1950. She had travelled various continents serving as a flight attendant until 26th, January 1972 when her flight crashed and she fell from a height of 33,300 ft where she was the only survivor. The incident which would have claimed her life got her honoured in the Guinness book of records as a survival of the greatest fall without a parachute in the history of the world.

After Verna’s fall, she was temporally paralyzed and fell into a coma for days and hospitalized for several months. She suffered a fractured skull, three broken vertebrae, two broken legs, broken ribs and a fractured pelvis. Upon her recovery, which took 10months, she couldn’t walk firmly as the incident left her walking with a limp.

The will power in Verna increased after she survived the impossible and she returned to work. Her company, allowed her to work as a desk attendee in other to avoid publicity and scaring passengers on flights.


Roy Sullivan survived the impossible

Roy Sullivan a United States park ranger born 7th, February 1912 worked in the Shenandoah park. He is among the few people in the world who survived the impossible. His experience was a notable one that made him grace the Guinness World Records as the human survival of the greatest lighting strike in the world.

Sullivan was struck by lightning seven different times and he survived them all. His survival of the impossible lightening strike made people call him “the lightning conductor”.

Mr Sullivan’s experiences with lightning started while he was a child. He was on the field helping his father cut wheat when his scythe was hit by the lightning but he wasn’t injured.

However, the first recorded lightning strike he survived occurred in April 1942 while he was hiding from the thunderstorm in a newly built fire lighthouse that didn’t have a lightning rod. During the thunder strike, the tower went ablaze putting Sullivan to his heels. It was while he was running the lightning struck him. He survived the impossible lightening strike but got burnt in his right leg and toes.

Twenty-seven years after Sullivan experienced the first lightning strike he was struck again for the second time. The lightning struck him in July 1969 while he was driving his truck on the mountain road. He became unconscious and his eyebrows, lashes and hair were burnt in the incident yet he survived the impossible fit.

Sullivan’s third lighting strike experience occurred in July 1970 while standing in the front of his yard. The lightning struck his left shoulder after hitting a nearby power transformer. He sustained injuries but survived the impossible incident.

On his fourth lightning strike experience, which occurred at the Shenandoah National Park station in 1972, he burnt his hair. Though he survived the impossible incident yet again, he held on to the belief that something was out to kill him. Prior to this belief, he carried a bottle of water around in anticipation for a lightning strike so he can put off the fire from his hair.

Almost a year after the lightning strike which happened at the rangers station, Sullivan was struck again on 7th, August 1973.  On this fifth incident which happened while he was on patrol at the park, he injured his left arm, left leg and toe. He stated that he saw the storm cloud following him, and parked after he outruns it. On stepping out of the truck he was struck but managed to get his bottle of water with which he put off the fire on his hair.

Although he had been struck a lot of times, the lightning still kept hitting him like it was a negotiated contract. On 5th, June 1976, he had a recurrence of his 5th lightning strike experience but injured his angle instead.

After Six consecutive lightning strike, on 25th, June 1977 while fishing in a freshwater pool, he was struck yet again. This seventh lightning strike which was the last recorded burnt his hair, stomach and chest.

Amidst surviving the seven impossible lightening strike, he was approached by a bear twenty-two times in his lifetime. In each instance, with the last being during the seventh thunder strike, he hit them with a stick.

Sullivan’s life was full of near-death impossible fits but he always survived the impossible. On one occasion, his wife whom he was thirty yet older than was hit by lightning while lining her clothes.

On 28th, September 1983 Sullivan died of a self-inflicted gunshot.


Truman Duncan survived the impossible

Truman Duncan’s survival is one of will and determination. The railroad engineer who hails from Cleburne was living his best life until the impossible incident which he survived occurred.

The incident happened in June 2006, while Truman was working at a train station in Cleburne, Texas. He fell on the track while trying to connect two train cars and one of the big wheels on the 20,000-pound rail car ground him into two halves cutting off his legs and part of his pelvis.

During the fall, Duncan’s will to survive was daring as he reached out to his cell and called 911 who came to his rescue. While the rescue team was working to get him off the rail he asked for a cigarette and coffee.

He spent Four months and a day in the hospital and underwent 23 surgeries. At the end of it all, his left leg was amputated at the hip, and the right leg was amputated above the knee.

Doctors said it is impossible to survive such an accident or been cut into two by a train but can survive.


Carlos Rodriguez survived the impossible

Miami based man Carlos Rodriguez survived an impossible car accident that left him with half a skull. Rodriquez got into an accident at fourteen years old when he was driving while high on drugs.

He lost a large portion of his brain and skull after flying through his car’s windscreen and landing on his head. Over the years, Rodriguez had been arrested twice for suspected attempted murder and sliding a prostitute respectively.

The mugshot for his arrest made his incident viral because various individuals doubted he really has half a skull.

His vivid scar has prompted people to call him ” happy” and made him advice young folks to avoid binge drinking and drugs especially while driving yet he smokes daily.


Frane Salek survived the impossible

Like Roy Sullivan the “lightning conductor”, Frane survived the impossible seven times. Although the incident he survived wasn’t lightning, the Croatian man who was born on 14th, June 1929 had near-death experiences which he survived.

The first impossible incident Frane Selak survived was in January 1962 while he was riding a train. The train fell off the track and landed in the river. Seventeen people drowned in the unfortunate incident but Frane survived after someone pulled him out of the river.

Shortly after the first near-death experience in the train, he was blown out of a plane during a plane in 1963. The plane crash was his first and only air journey. He landed in a haystack and survived the crash while nineteen people died.

Three years after the plane crash, In 1966, a bus that Frane was riding skidded off the road and into a river, drowning four passengers. He swam to shore with a few cuts and bruises.

Frame survived another near-death incident in 1970 for the fourth time in his life. A car he was riding caught fire but he escaped unharmed.

Another car incident happened in 1973, where the engine of his car flamed up due to a malfunctioning oil tank. He burnt his hair but survived.

More like a destined reoccurrence, in 1995, France was struck by a bus but sustained only minor injuries.

In 1996, he survived his seventh incident during a collision with a united nations truck on a mountain curve He managed to survive by holding to a tree while his car was destroyed.

Seven years after surviving these seven near-death experiences, Frane Selak won a US$1,110,000 lottery in 2003. This big win made people tag him “the world’s luckiest man” while others called him “the world’s luckiest unluckiest man”. He was 73years old while he won this Potter and lived on to buy two houses and a both. Frane also married for the fifth time after he won the lottery and gifted his relatives some of the money in 2010 in a bid to live a frugal lifestyle.


Robert Evans survived the impossible

Robert Evans a Boulderite was hit six hours apart by a car and train in September 2008. He was first struck at 10:00 pm by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bicycle. An ambulance took him to the Boulder Community Hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

At about 4:45 am that same day, while Evans was riding his bike to a camp where he sleeps, he was knocked into the creek by a train and hospitalised for the second time in six hours.

Evans survived both incidents without major injuries.


Adrian Carton de waist survived the impossible

Luitenant General Sir Adrain Cartoon De Wairt was a British army officer born on 5th May, 1880 and a great survivor of the impossible. He was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear, lost his hand,survived two plane crashes, tunnelled out of a prison as a prisoner of war, and pulled out his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them.

Sir Cartoon De Wairt survival started early in the second Boer war in south Africa where he was wounded in the stomach and groin. In 1915, he was wounded seven more times while commanding successively three(3) infant battalion and a brigade in the war of western front.

He lost his hand and out off his finger when the doctor refused to amputate it. At the battle of some, he was shot through the skull and ankle and through the hip at the battle of Passchendaele.

Carton De Wrait Survived the impossible
Sir Carton De Wrait Pictured In Another War After Losing His Left Hand

He was also shot at the leg in the battle of Cambrai and through the ear at Arras but he survived them all.

During the first world war, he was shot twice in 1915, thereby losing an eye and half his ear. He survived the incident and on 15 May 1915 was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

En route Serbia as head of the British Yugoslavian Military Mission to negotiate with the Yugoslavian government, his plane crashed. The aircraft crash on the river as a result of engine failure. He and his crew swam to shore and survived but they were captured by Italian authorities.

Carton De Wrait became a prisoner of war with the Italians but attempted to escape five consecutive times. After spending seven months escaping via a tunnel he succeeded but was captured again after eight days.

On October 1947, he retired as a Lieutenant General at the age of sixty-six (66years) but fell down the stairs in a visit to an army commander. He became unconscious with broken vertebrae but survived the incident.

All the impossible experiences of Sir Adrian Carton De Wrait didn’t deter him as he lived till a good old age of eighty-three  (83years) before his death on 5th, June 1963.

Until his death, the late lieutenant general garnered honourary awards and positions which include – the Victoria Cross in 1916 which is the highest award for gallantry in combat that can be awarded to British Empire forces.


Anatoli Bugorski is a Russian scientist born on 25th, June 1942. He is one of those few individuals in the world who survived the impossible. Anatoli had an accident in 1976 where he was struck by particle beam accelerator due to the failure of safety mechanism.

Shortly after the incident, his face swelled and his skin started peeling. This revealed his bone and brain tissue which the beam has burned. He experienced paralysis in the left part of his face and lost hearing in his left hears due to the destruction of nerves.

Doctors concluded that Anatoli will not survive as he had received excess fatal dose of radiation. He survived and even acquired a PhD without any intellectual mishap from the incident except occasional seizures.

After he survived the impossible, he continued working in the sciences as coordinator of physics experiment. Now forty-one years after the incident, Anatoli Burgoski has not been recorded to be dead.


Todd Endris Survived the impossible

On 28th, August 2007 Todd Endris who was born in 1983 was involved in a shark bite incident. He was hit three times by a 12-foot long white shark while surfing.

During the attack, a group of dolphins formed a circle to prevent the shark from attacking him. Endris was aided to shore by fellow surfers and the dolphins.

He lost half his blood and had over five hundred (500) stitches and two hundred (200) stables to fix his injuries. The incident gave way for the name “shark boy” and many opportunities. Some of the opportunities included a call to feature in the Oprah Winfreand freed free surfboard Clothing from a renowned design and a and a documentary on animal planet tv where also part of his benefits.

Todd Endris
Visible scars Todd sustained from the shark bite.

Nine years after the shark bite incident, Endris was involved in a car accident. He stayed eleven days in the hospital after which he died on 9th, December 2016.

All of these men survived the impossible in various ways. While this story is enlightening, it also drops a message from each of their experiences. Sir Andrain Carton De Wrait survival explains the need for zeal and passion in what we do. The passion for the army kept him going back after each near-death experience.

I beckoned more with Andrain Carton De Wrait’s survival. What about you? Whose survival story inspires you more?

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