Luck can manifest in many ways – from a fortunate discovery to an unbelievable escape from danger. Throughout history, tales of unexpected fortunes and narrow escapes have astonished and inspired many. Here’s a roundup of ten individuals whose luck seems almost beyond belief.

1. Frane Selak: The Luckiest Unlucky Man

Croatian Frane Selak is often dubbed the luckiest unlucky man.

Between 1962 and 1996, Selak survived seven near-death experiences, including a train derailment, plane crash, and multiple car accidents.

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.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. 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.

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, Selak won €900,000 (US$1,110,000)  in the lottery. At the time of his win, he also married for the fifth time. 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.

Amazingly, in 2003, he won the Croatian lottery, pocketing over a million dollars!


2. Joan Ginther: The Four-time Lottery Winner

Defying astronomical odds, Texan Joan Ginther won multi-million dollar jackpots four times. Her combined winnings from the Texas Lottery totaled over $20 million. Some attribute her winnings to math prowess and strategy, but her incredible luck cannot be ignored.


3. Tsutomu Yamaguchi: Survivor of Two Atomic Blasts

Yamaguchi is the only person officially recognized by the Japanese government to have survived both atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. He was in Hiroshima for work when the first bomb dropped and returned to his home in Nagasaki just in time for the second.


4. Bill Morgan: The Dead Man Who Won Twice

Bill Morgan, an Australian, was declared dead for 14 minutes after a car accident. He miraculously survived and, to celebrate his new lease on life, bought a scratch card and won a car. When asked to recreate his win for the news, he bought another ticket and won a $250,000 jackpot on camera!

5. Maarten de Jonge: Double Flight Luck

Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge had tickets for two doomed flights: MH370 and MH17. He changed his flight plans at the last minute for both, narrowly escaping the tragic fates of those flights.

6. Eric Lawes: The Lucky Detectorist

In 1992, while searching for a friend’s lost hammer in England, Eric Lawes stumbled upon the Hoxne Hoard using his metal detector. This cache of Roman coins, jewelry, and silver spoons is valued at around $3.8 million.

7. Evelyn Adams: Twice as Lucky

Winning the lottery once is fortunate. Winning twice is astounding. Evelyn Adams, from New Jersey, managed to win the lottery in consecutive years, 1985 and 1986, bagging a total of $5.4 million.

8. Violet Jessop: The Unsinkable Woman

Violet Jessop survived three of the most infamous ship disasters of the 20th century. She was aboard the RMS Olympic when it collided with a warship, the RMS Titanic when it hit an iceberg, and the HMHS Britannic after it presumably struck a sea mine. Yet, Jessop lived to tell these tales.

9. Harrison Odjegba Okene: Survival in the Deep

In 2013, Harrison Okene survived 60 hours in an air bubble after his tugboat capsized off the coast of Nigeria. In pitch darkness and freezing temperatures, he was eventually discovered and rescued by divers.

10. Roy Sullivan: Lightning’s Favorite Target

Being struck by lightning is rare. Being struck seven times is, well, shocking. Park ranger Roy Sullivan holds the Guinness World Record for being struck by lightning more times than any other human being and living to tell about it.

Luck is a mysterious force, sometimes bringing immense joy and other times testing the limits of human endurance. Whether it’s a twist of fate or sheer coincidence, the stories of these individuals remind us that the unexpected can occur at any moment, turning ordinary lives into tales of the extraordinary.