frane selak dude of the week

Frano was finally aboard, sitting in the rear of the plane beside the flight attendant. Exhausted and tired, Frano worried for his sick mother but was thankful the airline had agreed to let him onto the fully-booked flight so maybe, just maybe, he could see her in time. Sipping his tea, he looks about the aircraft -- the first one he'd ever been on. 

The door beside him rips open. Roaring wind, weightlessness, Frano is tumbling through the sky. He's probably screaming, but can't hear it. If he could've paused time, he might've reconsidered his decision not to wear his seatbelt. But then again, he had his reasons. This wasn't his first brush with death, and it wouldn't be his last. 

However, it was the last time he'd ever take a plane...


Frane Selak Frano Selak, unluckiest man in the world

Frano Selak, a Croatian music teacher, was something of a legend. Some call him the unluckiest man in the world; some would say he's actually the luckiest. It all really depends on how you characterize flipping death itself the finger seven times across your life. 

Perhaps Frano was the luckiest unlucky man ever born. 

While his accounts vary in their details -- especially as Frano got older -- few dispute the broad strokes of Frano's insane, almost cartoonish life or the several witnesses that attested to them. Born in 1929, Frano became known for his frequent brushes with death. 

And it all started a few years before Frano's fateful plane ride.


Frane Selak Frano Selak train crash

Frano's aboard his train, enjoying the frigid winter scenery passing by and the shot of rakija burning a hole in his belly. He's on his way from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik, the Croatian capital. He's chatting with fellow passengers without any idea they're all about to die horrible deaths.

A sudden lurch. An ear-splitting screech. Luggage, passengers, cutlery and glass fly throughout the cabin like dice in someone's palm. A thunderous, deep bellow as the train plunges into the river. The train is swallowed by icy water. Darkness. Frano is shaken, confused, suspended in the void. 

Minutes later, Frano is being dragged ashore by... someone. With a few curses in Croatian, Frano finds himself shivering on the banks of the river nursing an arm that's definitely broken. Confused, he rolls over, stares upward.  The train lay battered along the cliffside, steadily sinking into the river like some titanic mechanical water snake going home.

According to reports, Frano's train was either struck by a boulder or "mysteriously" derailed, plunging the entire train into the nearby river. Everyone, except for Frano and his rescuer, were killed. 


Frano Selak Frane Selak plane crash

Frano is in free fall. Icy winds howl in his ears. He's weightless and almost certainly about to die. His ailing mother he'd hoped to visit is going to outlive him. And he doesn't have time to contemplate any of this. 

Frano opens his eyes. Sounds, shapes. Confusion. Sensations. Pain. Frano groans, feels the weight of his body. He rolls over, feels the prickle of hay against the skin of his palm, hears the crunch of straw underfoot. Murmuring. He blinks. He's in... a haystack. What about the plane? What about his mother? The screaming wind? Frano groans again, rolls the other way. Curses. The flight attendant? His tea? 

What Frano doesn't know is that, after being sucked out of his airplane and flying through the air, he -- miraculously-- landed on a haystack in the middle of nowhere, a human home run caught in the glove of an overly-sympathetic god. The flight attendant beside him sits liquified on the ground somewhere in the vicinity. 

The airplane door beside him had "mysteriously" malfunctioned, flinging both him and the flight attendant over the horizon. The flight would go on to crash, killing all aboard. 


Frano Selak Frane Selak bus crash

Frano sits comfortably aboard his bus. He isn't going far; he's lost his appetite for unfamiliar forms of travel. He takes another sip of his tea, chuckling with the passenger beside him. The man recognized Frano from the news story about his miraculous survival a few years before.

Recalling the events, Frano finds himself astonished by the facts of his own life. Twice now, he's survived the unthinkable -- walked out of wreckage sole survivor twice. Frano shakes his head once more, chortling, and takes another sip. 

A lurch. The screams of people and of brake pads. The weightlessness. The plunge. The cold. This time, Frano knows what's happening. Recognizes it. And it's worse that way. Another crash, another river. Four passengers die in the water but, as Frano drags himself ashore, panting and frigid, he's thankful that this time at least he isn't the only survivor. 

The bus had somehow swerved off the road, plummeting down a steep slope and plunging into yet another river. Frano managed to swim to safety, walking away unscathed.


Frane Selak Frano Selak car explodes

Frano sighs, drumming the steering wheel. His eye wanders over to the passenger seat next to him and the unbuckled seat belt there. He smiles, looking back on his life. He's lucky to be alive. To be here, at the fuel pump, doing something as mundane as getting gas. It's been nearly twenty years since his last brush with death and he's looking forward to spending his remaining few decades in peace -- starting with the shot of rakija waiting for him at home. 

Fully refueled, Frano eyes the traffic and starts to pull away from the gas station when he hears a soft hiss. Cocking his head, Frano listens for a moment. Probably nothing. He starts to pull away again when he hears another hiss, this time louder. What could that --

Frano reels backward in his seat. Bright jets of flame erupt out of the air vents, washing over him. Cursing, Frano fumbles for the door handle, practically kicking the door open, and throwing himself out onto the pavement. Still cursing, he scrambles away from his car as flames engulf it within seconds. 

Frano lays there, again, staring once again at what was almost his death, again. Apparently, the fuel pump in Frano's car had "mysteriously" malfunctioned, spewing hot oil into the engine that ignited, turning his car's air ducts into flamethrowers. 


Frano Selak Gets Hit by a Bus

Frano gets hit by a bus. 


Frano Selak Frane Selak car crash

Frano's car "mysteriously" blows up again. 


Frano Selak Frane Selak mountain

As Frano clung to the roots of the tree, watching his car go tumbling down the 300-foot drop to the bottom of the cliffside, a part of him couldn't help but be amused. Sure, every cell in his body was charged with animal fear at the gaping maw of death below him, but this was the first time he could actually stop, while it was happening, and really observe.

The last thing Frano remembered was the beautiful mountainside scenery and seeing the bright UNITED NATIONS logo on the front of the bus as it rounded the corner. Him swerving. The too-soft impact of the guard rail and horrifying ease with which his car cleaved it in two. Him throwing the door open as the wheels of the vehicle rolled out into open air. Clawing at the cliffside, catching hold of the twisted, gnarled roots. 

Now dangling there, watching his car become nothing more than a plume of dust hundreds of feet below, Frano understood something. Had he not forgone wearing his seatbelt years ago, this would've finally been it.

But it wasn't. Frano had swerved offroad to avoid an oncoming bus and managed to grab onto a tree while his car went the route of Wile. E. Coyote hundreds of feet below. 


Frane Selak Frano Selak wins lottery

After seven brushes with death, Frano would eventually go on to pass away in 2016 at the age of 87 -- though it's hard to say what finally caught up to Frano, it was by all accounts a death by natural causes. 

Even more insane, after those seven brushes with death and two days after his 73rd birthday, Frano won a million dollars in Croatia's national lottery. By all accounts, after buying himself a boat (the only form of transport that didn't try to kill him) a house and a seaside cottage, he gave a majority of his money away to friends and relatives. 

So there you have it. Frano Selak. The unkillable man and one hell of a dude.