Frano Selak

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Frano Selak
Born(1929-06-14)14 June 1929
Died30 November 2016(2016-11-30) (aged 87)
Other namesFrane Selak
OccupationMusic educator
Known forDepictions about frequent brushes with death

Frano Selak or Frane Selak (14 June 1929 – 30 November 2016) was a Croatian man who was known for his unverified depictions about frequent brushes with death.

Selak's alleged near-death experiences began in January 1962 when he was riding a train through a cold, rainy canyon and the train flew off the tracks and crashed in a river. An unknown person pulled Selak to safety, while 17 other passengers drowned.[1] Selak suffered a broken arm and hypothermia.[2] 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 allegedly crashed, killing 19 people. There are no records of a plane crash in 1963 around Croatia matching Selak's narrative.[2][3][4][5] Three years after that, in 1966, a bus that he was riding in skidded off the road and into a river, drowning four passengers. Selak swam to shore with a few cuts and bruises.[2]

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. Selak was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected out of the car, clinging to a tree branch as he watched his vehicle fall 300 feet. Two days after his 73rd birthday,[1] Selak won 900,000 (US$1,110,000) (£702,920) in the lottery.[2][6] At the time of his win, he also married for the fifth time.[2] While he purchased two houses and a boat with his winnings,[1] in 2010 he decided to give most of the remaining money away to relatives and friends after deciding to live a frugal lifestyle.[2]

None of Selak's near-death experiences have ever been independently verified, and at times some of his accounts of his near-death experiences were inconsistent.[7][8][9] He died at the age of 87.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c Goos, Hauke (16 June 2003). "Stirb langsam" [Die Hard]. Der Spiegel (in German). Archived from the original on 12 September 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hough, Andrew (14 May 2010). "Frano Selak: 'world's luckiest man' gives away his lottery fortune". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  3. ^ " listing for all crashes worldwide in 1963". Archived from the original on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  4. ^ Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives search for crashes in Croatia in 1963 Archived 6 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Aviation Safety Network search for all plane crashes in Croatia Archived 15 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Fortune smiles on unluckiest man". The Scotsman. 18 June 2003. Archived from the original on 12 September 2018. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  7. ^ Delauney, Guy (14 May 2014). "#BBCtrending: Is the 'world's luckiest man' being exploited?". Archived from the original on 18 January 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  8. ^ . Littlechild, Chris (20 August 2018). "Luckiest Or Unluckiest Man In The World?". Archived from the original on 5 December 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  9. ^ Kuroski, John (4 June 2018). "The Seven Unbelievable Survival Stories Of Frane Selak". Archived from the original on 4 December 2021. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  10. ^ "Supruga loto milijunaša: 'Svima je pomogao, a umro je razočaran!'". Story.HR (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 14 November 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  11. ^ Vejnović, Saša (30 November 2016). "Oni su čudom preživjeli zrakoplovne nesreće: Otkrivamo koje je najsigurnije mjesto u avionu". (in Croatian). Nova TV (Croatia). Archived from the original on 28 November 2021. Retrieved 28 November 2021.