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Most Ridiculous Things Humans Surived

Insurance can occasionally get pretty morbid – that just comes with the territory when you have policies that give out death benefits, or that come into effect only after horrific injuries, devastating accidents and life-altering lawsuits.

The worst part is without doubt the stories. As an insurance broker, our job is to find out what can happen to people, so that we can protect you (financially at least) as best as possible. But unfortunately this also means us seeing the gruesome outcome of a motorcycle crash, or the pain experienced in a workplace injury.

Of course, McDougall Insurance won’t let these realities keep us down! The truth of the matter is, the odds of you being badly hurt in any one accident is fairly low. And beyond even that, the human body can survive things that few would consider even imaginable. Its quite amazing, really. This blog might not be talking about home insurance in Pembroke, or the newest trends in convenience store liability coverage, but we bet this will still be a fun read regardless.

Vesna Vulovic survived a 10,000 meter free fall.

Want to know how high 10,000 meters is in the air? Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, stands 8,848 meters about sea level. The CN tower is 553 meters tall. So to reach 10,000 meters in the air, you would need to climb up Mount Everest, then stack 2 CN towers on top of eachother on the peak of the tallest mountain of the world, and then climb that. Pretty high right?


Now imagine falling that distance. The chances of you perishing from a fall like that are right up there with the odds you paying taxes. Logic tells you that falling that far is guaranteed to be fatal.

But Vesna Vulovic wasn’t interested in odds or logic, so when the Serbian flight attendant’s plane exploded in a terrorist attack 10,160 feet in the air, she decided she would survive.

Vesna, just 22 years old at the time, free fell for more than 3 minutes before finally colliding with the ground. For most, that would be the end of this small story. We would, regrettably, be dead. But, and the title of this blog might have ruined the surprise, Vesna was not dead. Like some kind of horror movie monster, she endured.

Now, she broke practically every bone in her body, was temporarily paralyzed and in a coma for a month, but if you ask me that is a small price to pay to not die. Incredibly, Vesna soon recovered from paralysis and returned to working for her airline. Later, she was bestowed the Guinness world record for the highest fall without a parachute, and presumably also for being the toughest employee ever.

Frane Selak is the Word’s Best at Being Lucky


Early this year I went to Wendy’s to purchase two baconators (I hate myself), and when it came to be time to pay I realized I had no money. Scrounging around in my car, I was able to find the exact change I needed to pay. That was lucky. But really, when compared to Frane Selak, my experience with chance was practically mundane.

Frane is a Croatian Music Teacher who seems to be luck’s favorite (or least favorite, depending on how you look at it) human.

Things started off in 1962, when Frane survived riding a train which derailed and crashed into a frozen river – killing 17 people. A tragic experience for anyone. But for Frane, this was just the beginning. Less then a year later Frane was involved in another traveling accident – this time a door blew off a plane he was in mid flight. The resulting crash ended 19 lives, with Frane surviving after being knocked unconscious, sucked out of the plane, and somehow landing in a haystack.

This began a series of unfortunate events for Frane, who in the next 35 years would survive a bus accident that would claim the lives of 4, his car exploding, his car setting his scalp on fire (separate incident from the explosion), being hit by a bus, and finally barely escaping his car after a head-on collision with a truck that would cause his vehicle to topple 300 feet down the side of a mountain.

And then he won the lottery.


At age 74 the man bought his first lottery ticket in 40 years and won. You wonder if at this point death had just given up on him. Wow.

The Meng Brothers Rescued Themselves from a Collapsed Coal Mine

The Meng Brothers were workers in an illegal coal mine in Beijing’s Fangshan district when disaster struck. Not known for it’s high standards of safety at the best of times, the mine collapsed around the two young men, burying them more then 70 feet from any available help.

Now this is typically a very bad experience for anyone in the mining industry, but at least you can expect the efforts of emergency response teams to do everything they can to save you! Xianchen and Xianyou Meng believed that too, that is until the faint sounds of rescuers finally stopped, as attempts to retrieve the brothers were abandoned.

Apparently Chinese authorities had deemed the brothers dead, and stated that any continued operations to recover the bodies would put emergency workers at risk. Their family held a traditional funeral on site, to commemorate Xianchen and Xianyou, and ease their passage into the next world.

Obviously, it was therefore quite shocking when the Meng brothers emerged from the mine 5 days later, dehydrated and fatigued but undeniably alive. Having given up hope of being rescued, the brothers had decided to dig their own way out, carving through nearly 70 ft. of rock and eating coal to dull their hunger pains. They said the coal tasted delicious, which may have been delirium from being tired miners who survived through solidified toughness, or proof that the Meng brothers are not humans, but coal guzzling mining machines.

Given the circumstances, I think the second option is more realistic

Anna Bagenholm Laughs at Ice-Drowning

You know what is extremely dangerous? Drowning. You know what else is extremely dangerous? Subzero temperatures. Combining the two is a recipe for surefire awful, and it’s exactly what happened to Anna Bagenholm.


Anna was skiing in the mountains outside Narvik in Norway, when she lost control and fell headfirst into a frozen stream, penetrating the outer layer of ice and en lodging her entire body – head first, in the artic water, underneath 20 centimeters of ice (that’s almost twice as thick as the walls in most homes).

Witnesses report that only her feet and skiis were above the surface of the frozen river, which is a situation less like a humorous winter painting and more like a horrific painful death by freeze-drowning.

The people with her tried to free her, and when they failed they called for emergency crews, who were able to remove Anna quickly from the ice – only 80 minutes after her accident.

Having gone into cardiac arrest and having been LEFT IN A FROZEN RIVER FOR MORE THEN AN HOUR, doctors half-heartedly checked Anna for life. They connected her to an electrocardiogram, which showed nothing. She wasn’t breathing, and had no blood circulating.

However, the doctors present knew they should let her warm up before making an official declaration, and after hours of work – her heart started beating. Anna later woke up, paralyzed from the neck down, but entirely alive. At this point I don’t know who was more surprised, her, the doctors, or the Grim Reaper. Anna has since recovered the use of her limbs, but still suffers from some chronic numbness. She also still skiis. Because ice-drowning just isn’t as tough as Anna Bagenholm.

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