Frane Selak

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Frane Selak
Born (1929-06-14) 14 June 1929 (age 89)
OccupationMusic teacher
Known for"World's luckiest man"[1] "World's unluckiest man"

Frane Selak (born June 14, 1929)[2] is a Croatian man who has allegedly escaped death seven times, and afterward won the lottery in 2003, prompting journalists to dub him "the world's luckiest man",[1] and "world's luckiest unluckiest man".[3]

Brushes with death[edit]

Selak's brushes with death started in January 1962 when he was riding a train through a cold, rainy canyon and the train flipped off the tracks and crashed in a river. Someone pulled Selak to safety, while 17 other unfortunate passengers drowned.[4] Selak suffered a broken arm and hypothermia.[1] The next year, during his first and only plane ride, he was blown out of a malfunctioning plane door and landed in a haystack; the plane crashed, killing 19 people.[1][5][6][7] Three years after that, in 1966, a bus that he was riding skidded off the road and into a river, drowning four passengers. Selak swam to shore with a few cuts and bruises.[1]

In 1970 his car caught fire as he was driving and he managed to escape before the fuel tank blew up. Three years later, in another driving incident, the engine of his car was doused with hot oil from a malfunctioning fuel pump, causing flames to shoot through the air vents. Selak's hair was completely singed in this incident, but he was otherwise unharmed. In 1995, he was struck by a bus in Zagreb, but sustained only minor injuries. In 1996 he eluded a head-on collision with a United Nations truck on a mountain curve by swerving into a guardrail, which gave way under the force of his car; he was ejected from the car when the door flew open, (he wasn't wearing a seatbelt) managed to hold onto a tree, and watched his car plummet down 90 metres (300 ft) into a gorge.[1][4]

Lottery winner[edit]

In 2003, two days after his 73rd birthday,[4] Selak won 800,000 (US$1,110,000) (£702,920) in the lottery.[1][2] At the time of his win, he also married for the fifth time.[1] While he purchased two houses and a boat with his winnings,[4] in 2010 he decided to give most of the remaining money away to relatives and friends after deciding to live a frugal lifestyle.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hough, Andrew (14 May 2010). "Frano Selak: 'world's luckiest man' gives away his lottery fortune". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Fortune smiles on unluckiest man". The Scotsman. 18 June 2003. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  3. ^ Meet the world's luckiest unluckiest man who cheated death 7 times - Sploid.Gizmodo 01.05.2014
  4. ^ a b c d Goos, Hauke (16 June 2003). "Stirb langsam" [Die Hard]. Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  5. ^ listing for all crashes worldwide in 1963
  6. ^ Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives search for crashes in Croatia in 1963 Archived May 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Aviation Safety Network search for all plane crashes in Croatia Archived October 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine