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Frane Selak: The Unbelievable Journey of the World's Luckiest Unlucky Man

In the realm of extraordinary tales, few can rival the incredible life of Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher who defied the odds time and time again. His numerous brushes with death, followed by an unexpected lottery win, earned him the title of the world's luckiest unlucky man. In this feature, we delve into Selak's extraordinary life, exploring his remarkable experiences and the resilience of the human spirit.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Selak's extraordinary tale of survival began in January 1962 when he was aboard a train traveling from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. A tragic accident led to the train plunging into an icy river, resulting in 17 fatalities. Selak managed to swim to shore with just a broken arm and hypothermia.

The following year, Selak found himself in a life-threatening situation again when a plane's door malfunctioned mid-flight, ejecting him from the aircraft. Miraculously, he landed in a haystack, while 19 others perished in the crash.

In 1966, Selak survived a bus crash that claimed the lives of four passengers. He swam to safety, escaping with only minor injuries. Over the next three decades, Selak experienced a series of near-fatal car accidents, including one where his car caught fire and another where he was ejected from his vehicle, narrowly avoiding a 300-foot drop.

Turning the Tide: A Stroke of Luck

In 2003, at the age of 74, Selak's luck took a surprising turn when he won the Croatian lottery, claiming a jackpot of over one million Croatian kuna (approximately $200,000). This unexpected fortune led people to view his prior misfortunes in a new light, dubbing him the world's luckiest unlucky man.

The Human Spirit and the Power of Luck

Frane Selak's remarkable journey serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the mystifying nature of luck. While many of us experience moments of good fortune, few can claim to have lived a life as astonishing as Selak's. His ability to survive against all odds and ultimately find happiness and contentment in the face of adversity is an inspiration to us all.


The unbelievable journey of Frane Selak, the world's luckiest unlucky man, is a story that captivates and intrigues. As we reflect on Selak's extraordinary life, we are reminded of the power of the human spirit, the unpredictable nature of luck, and the belief that even amidst life's greatest challenges, happiness and fulfillment can be found.