garpd From UK - Scotland, joined Aug 2005, 2870 posts, RR: 4 Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3024 times:
...your narrow escapes from possible death.
I was reading a thread about this subject on a different forum and it intrigued me greatly. Would love to read your stories.
I have a few incidents that come to mind.
I should preface these stories by telling you I'm an Army Brat and spent many of my formative years in Germany so the locations change from story to story. I'm not making them up.
1. One fine day, at about the age 2, maybe 3. I was playing in the garden of our home in the town o fLübekke.
I had been and given strict instructions not to leave. But as soon as Mother disappeared inside the house, off I trotted. Before long, Mother noticed I was gone. She, my Grandmother and Great Grandmother set off to search for me. I was soon spotted. I was wearing a bright red hooded top and blue trousers. Mother rounded a corner and spotted a tiny red thing bobbing along the main road in the distance. (It should be noted, this was 40mph road!), I'm told one car whizzed past me so close, it's draft knocked me over. But I got up and kept going. A very attentive driver spotted me and slowed to a stop, causing traffic behind her to stop also until Mother was able to scoop me up.
2. Moving on to about 6 years old. We had moved to married quarters outside of the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England. I was playing around some housing renovations and watching the workmen on their scaffolding when I heard someone shout my name, I turned round and there was my Dad’s Sergeant telling me to get the hell out of there. No sooner had I turned to face the Sergeant when a brick fell from the partially rebuilt chimney some 2 storeys above me, flew inches past my head and thudded on the ground. The Sergeant took me home, I was, um, told off.... with a wooden spoon.
3. I returned to the same renovations days later and found myself fascinated with a barrel of rain water. It was short enough for me to peer into but not very wide. So, being an inquisitive six year old, I leaned over and had a peek. Before I knew it, I lost my balance and went in, head first. The barrel was too small for me to turn around in and get my head above the water. The only reason I am here now, typing this, is due to a stroke of luck. My Dads Sergeant just happened to once again be strolling by (I swear he must have been watching me!), at the same instant I went into the water. He spotted my kicking legs, rushed over and pulled me out. Shaken by the experience, I was led home by Sergeant who explained to Mother what had happened. Um.... spoon.
4. This is a little longer, bear with me.
This happened on Friday October 27th 1989. Dad was stationed in Germany, we lived there with him. At the time of this incident, we lived in Mülheim an der Ruhe. Probably means nothing to you, so on with the story.
That day started full of excitement. It was the day of the planned family holiday to the Styles' home in a town called Bünde. They were good friends, a family who, like us, were part of the Army. The Father was a soldier and best friend of my Dad's. His wife was German, she was called Anke. They had an only child named Dean. He and I were of similar age and got on well with each other. So I was looking forward to the visit.
Dad was in charge of the packing of the car. He was always able to squeeze everything in, and properly too. Mum would always leave half the stuff we needed behind and break things by manhandling them into the boot then snapping the tailgate shut, doing further damage.
I sat in my seat on the left rear and watched as Dad loaded my BMX bike into the boot.
The car was a 6 month old Mitsubishi Lancer estate (Station wagon in yank) with sky blue metallic paint and very comfortable. I had gone with my dad to pick it up 6 months previously form a dealership in Mönchengladbach.
After loading my bike, Dad disappeared into the house, only to reappear with my bed quilt in his hands.
“There are plenty spare quilts at Anke's” Mum commented as Dad proceeded to lean into the boot, my quilt in his hands. “It’s just in case. You never know” Dad explained as he proceeded to wrap the handlebars of my bike with the quilt The boot space now well and truly loaded to bursting point, Dad gently closed the tailgate, locked the front door to our house and got in the car.
We set off in the early evening, so that we only experienced the tail end of the rush hour traffic.
I vividly remember my dad bringing the car up to cruising speed on a slip road the German Autobahn while already munching on one of the rolls mother had prepared for the journey.
Day turned into night as we cruised along the Autobahn. Along the way we passed a car that had turned onto its side after the driver, who presumably did not pay enough attention, had driven up the upward sloped beginning of a crash barrier. As it got dark we passed a car that was totally consumed by flames as its owner looked on helplessly with Policemen talking to him.
We had been traveling for a few hours when we encountered the tail end of a traffic jam that stopped all 3 lanes of traffic. My dad approached the end of the queue in the middle lane, using his Hazard lights to tell traffic behind we were coming to a standstill. We were just about stopped, only crawling at foot pace when my dad looked in his rear view mirror, his face was lit up by headlights from behind, he shouted "What the ****... hold on!". Before I could question what he meant, the impact deafened my ears. That split second felt like an eternity. Glass smashed, metal crunched, plastic cracked and creaked, tires screeched. It all came together as a blast of terrifyingly loud noise. I can still hear it, all these years later.
We were launched forward at about 30MPH from a virtual standstill. Mother’s seat back collapsed onto my lap. The radio, that was playing Belinda Carlisle “Leave a light on” cut out. I watched as dad wrestled with the steering wheel and fought to bring the car to a stop in a safe place. It must have only been about 10 seconds before we stopped. In that time I held onto the back of Mothers seat as if her life depended on it. She was screaming hysterically. It was during this time I noticed a sharp pain at the back of my head. I looked to the left and saw people leaping out of their cars as we came to a stop. My sister had begun to scream in agony. She had not been wearing her seat belt correctly; consequently her right leg was trapped between the back of the driver’s seat and the rear seat. The force of the impact broke a bone. My three year old brother sat relatively calmly in his child seat.
As we came to a stop, my dad instantly leaped out of the car and opened the right hand passenger door to get my sister out. Mother fumbled for her glasses while another motorist attempted to open my door which did not open at first as it was buckled. After getting my sister and baby brother out, Dad came round and almost tore my door off to get me out. I could smell petrol, it was vital we got out quickly.
Once we were all out of the car, Dad herded us over to the crash barrier away from the car. Fellow motorists flocked to aide us, some had towels, some had blankets. There was a flurry of activity. Dad left us in the hands of the concerned onlookers as he went over to assist the person who had hit us.
Somehow that person had not seen the three lanes of standing traffic and drove their Nissan into the back of our car at a considerable speed. They span a few times before coming to rest. Other motorists had flocked to assist them. Satisfied everyone was OK, all things considered, Dad returned to secure the car and removed the keys from the ignition and stood by us. His years of Army training, learning to keep cool in a crunch situation, helped him remain calm and focused. His medical training also allowed him to correctly identify that my sisters femur was broken just above the knee.
While standing beside my family, I looked at the wreck of our car and could see that the handlebars of my BMX were roughly where my head had been. It must have hit me with the force of the impact. I'm lucky it didn't go through me. Dads lasts minute idea of wrapping my quilt around the exposed handlebars had undoubtedly saved my life.
I can tell you now, the sound of emergency service sirens getting louder never felt sweeter.
Thankfully my aunty was ill, and so with my Mum, the family cut short a trip and went back to Singapore a day early. Forgetting to mention they had come home early, quiet a few family friends thought my Mum, my 2 Aunty's and my Uncle and my grandparents were dead for a few hours
Prior to the move to Asia as my Granddad was in the armed forces, they came to the UK for a visit and on arriving into London, made there way onto the Underground, Changing on the tube, they just missed this train and caught the next one.
3. Now for me. Chasing my sister on our bikes on a RAF Camp housing estate, she crossed a quiet road and I followed seconds later, only to end up looking into the window of a brand new car after it hit me. I only thankfully got a fat lip and some bruises.
4. Going to work on my first day, I got a lift in with my house-mates friend who worked in the same office. We were going at about 30 mph down a road when all of a sudden a car came out of a doctors car park, did not look and pulled out, thankfully my friend saw what was about to happen so he slammed the brakes on, we still hit with a big thump, enough to disable the car and split something underneath. Caused me to be a little bit late lol.
5. I used to get the bus to work every day, and I liked to sit in the same spot. A sideways seat with the window behind at the front of the bus. Was coming back from work one afternoon when all of a sudden the window smashed and the lady sitting there ended up on the floor after someone chucked a brick at it. Thankfully it sideswiped her and she only had a few cuts, but my god it was shocking!!! I never sat there again!
My family and I were actually on that flight. My mom and brother were next to the rear overwing exit, and my dad and I were in the row behind, so we were all out of the airplane very quickly. Just lucky.....
I didn't realize at the time that the crash had raised questions regarding the future of the A320:
CXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3212 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2811 times:
When I was 3, I was attacked by a Black Spitting Cobra in Malaysia (when we lived there). I had naively (as many children are), tried to pick it up, and it attacked. However, thankfully, our dog was also in the yard, and it was as interested in the cobra as I was. It distracted the cobra, but sadly, our dog was killed by it.
That was the only incident worthwhile as a story, but I have been close to death other times, such as being very sick from salmonella as a one-month old baby.
Maverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5981 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2792 times:
I probably wouldn't have died, but I was supposed to be on Flight 1549. The flight went oversold, and I decided to take a flight a few hours later.
But my true close call was at the Grand Canyon. I hiked down to Havasupai with my Boy Scout troop for a 3 day campout, and on the second day I was wading across Havasu Creek, when I was swept off my feet by the strong current in the center of the creek. I was carried underwater, tumbling over step after step in the river, until I finally managed to hold onto one of the edges of a step. Had I passed out (I was underwater most of the ride), I would most certainly had drowned, as nobody had seen me leave. Even if I had kept my head above water enough, a waterfall was only a mile downstream.
In the end, I climbed out of it with a few bruises and a bunch of cuts across my back that stung like nobody's business.
SmithAir747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1695 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2762 times:
You could say I have been cheating death since the day I was born (though I give God all the credit)
Here are a few notable examples.
These episodes mostly deal with the upper airway problems I have had since birth to now (upper airway obstruction due to craniofacial anomalies). I tend to choke a lot too, because of this.
1) April 25, 1975: I was born--not only with severe craniofacial anomalies (Treacher Collins syndrome), but also with a very obstructed upper airway. Due to the jaw deformity (specifically retro- and micrognathia, a jaw too small and positioned too far back for safety), my tongue fell back into and blocked my airway. This is called glossoptosis. I still experience this to this day. I nearly died (due to respiratory arrest), so I was taken immediately from the hospital in Bloomington, IN, to the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and put in the neonatal ICU there, where I had more of these asphyxiation episodes (and had to be revived repeatedly). I was finally given an emergency tracheostomy. A bit of trivia: Since the hospital did not have a tracheostomy tube small enough for my tiny trachea, they had someone custom-make one small enough (I have heard, size 000) out of sterling silver! So I sort of came into this world with a silver trach, instead of a silver spoon!
My doctors held out no hope for my long-term survival, much less a normal intelligent life. I was destined for an institution, and classed as "retarded" and autistic. (That was the language of the period.)
2) At a paediatric dentist's office in Fort Wayne, IN, in 1978 (age 3): Whilst I was having a procedure done by my dentist under anaesthesia (possibly nitrous oxide inhalation), I was asphyxiated when my throat was apparently blocked by my lolling tongue (during unconsciousness, I could not, and still cannot, keep my airway patent.) The poor dentist just about lost me in the chair; he had to call in EMTs and firefighters from the local station to revive me. All the while, Mom was sitting in the waiting room and saw them come in, but she did not find out until afterwards what had happened to me. From then on, all my paediatric dentistry was done at Riley hospital in Indianapolis, as my dentist could no longer risk my death in his office.
3) Mother's Day, 1986, Auburn, IN, age 11: That Sunday morning, our big family took Mom out for breakfast at the local Ponderosa buffet steakhouse. From the buffet line, among the items I chose were 2-inch links of sausage. Whilst eating one, I got it lodged in my throat--and started sputtering and choking. A trip to the restaurant bathroom did not help. Dad took me in the station wagon to the local hospital (Auburn is a small town). They couldn't do anything for me, so they called an ambulance to take me downstate to Indianapolis (to Riley hospital), a two-and-a-half-hour drive. Dad rode along, whilst Mom followed us down in the station wagon (the kids had been sent home). Somewhere on the way down, the sausage finally dislodged before my arrival at the Riley hospital ER.
4) December 4, 1991, age 16, at Riley hospital ICU after a huge jaw surgery: After a marathon 14-hour lower jaw rebuilding surgery, where they gave me a tracheostomy and wired my jaws tightly shut, I was in the ICU for 2 days because of the tracheostomy. The first night in the ICU, my Shiley size 4 tracheostomy tube's removable inner cannula totally plugged up with phlegm, and soon I could not breathe at all. There is no terror like not being able to breathe, and it has an amazing way of clearing your mind of all other distractions, as you focus solely on survival. This lasted a veritable eternity, as I kept frantically pressing the nurse-call button in my private ICU cubicle. No one came for an eternity. Finally, before I would probably have lost consciousness (and had any brain damage or died), a nurse happened to walk in. She changed my inner trach cannula--finally! It is no fun having a tracheostomy. This is my most recent tracheostomy, which I had for about two weeks. What a way to spend Christmas! By the way, I ate everything by syringe for the next 2 months.
5) Mother's Day 1996, and again later that summer, age 21: On this Mother's Day, 10 years after the near-tragedy of Mother's Day 1986, our family gathered at our home (an ex-mortuary) for dinner in honour of Mom. I choked on a tough piece of meat (turkey or chicken, I can't remember), and had the familiar terrifying feeling of total suffocation. Mercifully, before an older sister went to the phone to call 911, the piece of meat finally dislodged.
Later that summer, my family went camping in our tents at the local state park. One day, during dinner (of spare ribs grilled over the campfire), I choked on a piece of spare rib. My younger sister (trained in Heimlich and CPR) did the Heimlich on me, and the meat flew clear across the tent.
6) During a bicycle ride in Garrett, IN, early 2000s: Whilst I was riding my bicycle through my hometown one summer afternoon, with a young niece (also on her bike), on the sidewalk, I ran into a jump rope stretched across the pavement from a tree (a dog was tethered by this jump rope to the tree) before I even saw it. It stretched hard across my throat, but mercifully, it was an elastic, plastic-rubber material, and it broke. It would have "garrotted" me otherwise, had it not been a cheap elastic jump rope. But I had an angry red ligature mark across my throat for 2 days, like a hangman's noose would leave.
7) December 13, 2008, near midnight, age 33, San Francisco, CA: I had been fighting a severe upper airway infection for a week (it had started the previous Sunday night and rapidly worsened over the week). That Saturday night, sitting in my green recliner (my "green throne"), my cough worsened to the point I was choking on it (as my throat spasmed completely shut). I nearly suffocated to death that night. There was no way I could have called for help. This happened again the following April at a conference I was attending in NOLA.
So, as you can see, I have dealt with upper airway obstruction all my life. As I have severe obstructive sleep apnoea, I use CPAP every night since 2004.
God has some purpose for keeping me here on Earth!
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
sunshine79 From UK - England, joined Jan 2006, 1760 posts, RR: 28
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2738 times:
I suppose the nearest I've been was when I was born, just over 32 years ago. Mum went into one of those fits whilst pregnant with me and ended up having a c-section. I was born 6 weeks early weighing only 2lb 2oz. It was a 50/50 if I would make it. Two weeks later, on the day my parents got the keys to their first house (which they are still in and own outright) the hospital rang to say I would survive. Needless to day there was plenty of tears that day in our family. I always remember my aunt saying a little boy in the cot next to me was up for adoption and my family thought it was so sad. Another boy I was next to ended up living a few doors down from me and we went to school together for a few years before he moved away.
Another time was when I was driving home from my friend's house and some muppet decided to drive towards me on my side of the road. The idiot decided to swerve onto his side at the last moment. Not surprising, my heart was literally in my mouth until I got home and had a stiff drink.
david_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7640 posts, RR: 13
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2734 times:
3 years ago on December 5th, my mum died of carbon monoxide poisoning and I had 5 hours of pure oxygen to get my levels of carbon monoxide to relatively normal proportions. Can't go into too many details as the inquest will be taking place shortly and from there it may lead to being a court matter.
LEEZYJET From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 4048 posts, RR: 52
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2716 times:
When I was about 2-3, I followed my older sister into the deep end of a swimming pool. She could swim, I couldn't !!. I sank to the bottom and bobbed back up 3 times before being hauled out by a friendly German sat by the pool.
About 4-5 I got a new bike but couldn't pull the brakes as it was slightly too big for me. I headed off down a hill with a wall at the bottom.....do the math !!.
About 14-15 was in a light a/c doing aero's when the engine died. We were preparing to either bail out or make a forced landing, when the pilot tried "just one last time" and it came back to life and we headed straight back to the runway.
Things then went quiet until I was about 20, and hit black ice on the motorway and went backwards at 80mph into a lamp post. Not only was I lucky I survived the impact without a scratch, but the top of one of those huge motorway lights fell down and landed next to the car.
My next interesting one also came in a plane doing unusual attitude recovery in simulated IMC conditions with plastic screens over the windows. My instructor pulled up into a 60* climb with about 80* wing over, then said "you have control". I had just grasped the controls when he yelled "I have control", I let go, and looked through a gap between the plastic screens to see another a/c completely filling up our windscreen about 50ft above us. We levelled out, looked at each other, laughed and carried on with the lesson !!.
My latest one was at the Grand Canyon. Just outside the Skywalk, I got off the bus, went to the edge of the canyon and though "umm that rock there looks pretty safe". As I was stepping down onto it, I slipped and fell and heard a scream - luckily for me my weight was behind me and I fell back, otherwise I would have had a 4,000ft free fall to the bottom of the canyon. The scream was my g/f thinking I was going over the edge !!. It was another one of those moments where life passes before your eyes, but you just laugh and carry on as if nothing happened !!.
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
yfbflyer From Canada, joined Sep 2006, 302 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2707 times:
1. Went down a flight of stairs head first in a baby walker as a child
2. Two general aviation near accidents.
3. Very bad case of the measles as a child despite vaccination
4. Trapped outside during a blizzard.
5. Two sever cases of food poisoning.
6. During one of the sever food poisoning cases I started seeing double went to the local ER. Diagnosed with a brain tumor turned out to be a macro hemorrhagic adenoma. The violent vomiting caused a apoplexy in the tumor and that caused the onset of the double vision
Ken777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8839 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2697 times:
Two times on deployment in the Navy - major fires on our ship. First time my GQ was below the waterline and the second time it was in Secondary Conn, which was intelligently put over the 5"'s magazine. Both really built my respect for the guys in Damage Control.
Also there were two bouts of cancer. Two surgeries and radiation treatments for one. But after my wife's (successful) battle with acute leukemia I don't count those.
aerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7742 posts, RR: 16
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2662 times:
I have had a few experiences that potentially qualify. I'm not sure all of them do qualify, but I put them here anyway for your critique and for your enjoyment..
- I got hit by a Nissan Pathfinder (as a pedestrian) while crossing the road with my Father's Day present (a nice bottle of Riesling)- it was doing about 65kph at the time. I just saw it change lane through the corner of my eye at the last minute and somehow managed to jump up high enough to go over the bonnet just when I thought I would be hit and leapt for the kerb, it clipped my feet just as I was falling into a forward roll. My foot was a little sore where it it me, but the important thing was that the bottle of wine was fine.
- Was White water rafting the Nile in Uganda and we opted to go down the harder side of the fork, the raft tipped everyone out, and we all floated down the river. I came up in the part of the river that was fastest moving and it carried me and one other person way further down the river than the rest. I was pretty relaxed about it despite being dunked a few more times but I noticed the kayaker nearby was really struggling to try and overtake me and I could tell he was panicked - He just managed to hook me and literally threw me across the kayak. He took me ashore straight away to wait for my raft, and pointed out to me the Nile Crocs that were just exiting the river on a nearby river bank. I had been floating straight towards them and they had entered the water when they had seen the two snacks heading towards them.
I had a close run in with a Lion a few days after this in QE2 National Park Uganda while walking back to the camp from the Lodge Bar a couple of kms down the road. Of course the three of us had all been drinking so our judgement slightly impaired. We were walking down the dirt track with scrub woodland either side of the road and had hear a Lion roar a few minutes earlier, clearing all the hyenas (whose eyes were reflecting in the torch light) who had been watching us on the other side of the road - We just thought it was the deceptive way sound travels at night in Africa(Lion roars can travel for kilometres!!). But a few minute later we could see it staring from the scrub on the roadside at us, I was just about to start moving away quickly when my African friend shoved both hands on my shoulder and told me "If you run now you die". I got the message..
- I was driving my car in the countryside at openroad speed (100kph) when I clipped some gravel which had spilled out across the road, it spun the car into the opposite gravel bank on the other side of the road and flipped the car end over end about 6 times (while also rotating laterally 4-5 times- according to the witnesses) I ended upside down in a ditch 60 metres down the road from the point at which I first lost clipped the gravel. Car was a write off but I was uninjured.
- Was onboard a truck across the Amazon, and was on a dirt track in Mato Grosso province that was right next to water, it was really soft mud (though it didn't look it), and the 18 ton Merc sank in the mud on one side and tipped it up, it was very close to actually going into the drink on its side (and I was on the downward facing side.) but thankfully it stayed clear long enough to climb out safely.. It took 14hours of digging out , a Caterpillar bulldozer, and a grader to get it out.
- I was on a wooden dugout canoe with an anemic outboard motor up the river to see Angel Falls, Venezuela. Not normally enough to warrant a 'life or death' moment, but there was extremely high waters and the canoe owner said he would never have left base had he known it would be that bad. It had initially looked ok on the wider flatter part of the river, but ended up being 6h of bailing out the canoe (it normally takes 3 1/2h) up what had become some pretty impressive rapids, with an outboard that was regularly cutting out between rapid/in the middle of rapids and with only a few life jackets onboard - which had gone to the weakest swimmers. There were several moments when the canoe was completely submerged and we were just hoping that the next wave would not wipe us all out before the motor would restart.
NorthstarBoy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2627 times:
I've had a few episodes of falling out of rafts into icy rivers and an episode of almost falling out of a tree house head first as a kid that i call "Almost bought the farm" experiences, but the biggest one was my Canary Islands cruise on the TSS Island Breeze, an african mail ship that had been converted to a cruise ship:
In December of 1998 mom and I and two friends of ours decided to take a Canary Islands cruise onboard the now defunct Premier Cruise Lines. Overall the cruise was great, with the exception of the ocean travel part. The "wake turbulence" we endured for the entire cruise seemed to start the moment we left Las Palmas with pitching on the way to Tenerife and heavy pitching on the way to Madeira. Coming out of Madeira we were supposed to head for Casablanca. That's when things got dicey. We were into heavy rolling. Dishes and glasses were being smashed everywhere, we had to hold onto our plates at dinner to keep them from sliding off onto the floor, and the topper was a little old lady being thrown from her seat to the floor in the main lounge during the captain's reception. At least seven ship's officers ran to her assistance.
The next day, the third or fourth day of the cruise, we were hit by a rogue wave. I happened to be safe in my bed at the time, as the movement of the main lounge was really messing with my head and thus making my stomach upset. That one wave caused half the slot machines in the casino to topple, the gift shop was destroyed, the lido buffet toppled during the lunch service scalding a crew member with boiling hot water, a speaker almost came down on my friend carol's head, and my mom was thrown across the deck landing up against a bulwark that probably kept her from going overboard. Chairs were sliding across the deck and piling up against her. Dinner that night was canceled because there was too much broken glass in the dining room for the safety of the passengers. According to a fellow passenger, who overheard the crew discussing the incident, we came within 5 inches of losing our center of gravity, which would have meant capsized.
Supposedly, we were being followed by three boats when we left Madeira because the authorities on Madeira were sure we were going to capsize and we were being shadowed by a CNN europe news helicopter.
When I mentioned the cruise to a Premier Agent later, she said that particular cruise was the only time in their history they had ever lost radio contact with a ship.
We ended up returning to Las Palmas a day early because the stop after Casablana, which we never got to, was Lanzarote and the sea was too turbulent for the ship to tender. We were also told we couldn't get into Casablanca because there were 20 foot swells in the harbor that would have caused the ship to run aground.
I'd rather be one of the worst and Dumbest than the best and brightest....life's so much more stress free that way
Siren From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 397 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2600 times:
April 22, 2003: I crashed my car, a 1985 Porsche 911 Targa. Long story short, I was driving recklessly in the mountains at a high rate of speed with delusions that I was as good as Mario Andretti. I went into a turn a little too quickly, the car was understeering - let off the gas, the rear snapped out and I went backwards off a hundred foot drop.
I rolled the car I don't know how many times, I remember the whole sequence of events - just happening so quickly, and being so confused as it happened. I knew it was going to be bad from the moment the rear started sliding - my memory of it is just so short and fast. Amazing how much happens in the blink of an eye, over the span of seconds. My life changed immediately and permanently as a result of that millisecond of miscalculation.
As the car came to rest upright I found myself pinned to the steering wheel, the targa top of the car having become dislodged and pushing me from behind. I had the most incredible shooting pain up my spine. I was bleeding from a number of small cuts, my cell phone was nowhere to be found, and I couldn't move. I was stuck. I tried harder and harder to free myself but nothing - I was trapped, and growing aware that I could not feel anything below my breasts. And that's when the adrenaline really started pumping, as the gravity of the situation started to set in. I was in the mountains, 5 miles from town, with a serious life threatening injury, trapped, a hundred feet from the road - might as well have been a hundred miles.
Just as despair began to set in, I heard a voice calling, "Hello? Hello? Are you OK?"
A bicyclist coming the other direction had seen the accident take place - and stopped riding, took out his phone and called 911 - and then hiked down the hill to the wreck - to me. I cried out for help; and the biker - a giant man, spandex clad as bicyclists usually are, very thin, in his late 50s or early 60s approached. There was nothing he could do - except be with me, and hold my hand until the firemen and emergency medical teams got to me.
They had to cut me out of the car with "the jaws of life". It seemed like an eternity but they said it was about 30 minutes of work to cut up the Porsche to get me out. I was airlifted to Stanford Hospital where a new ordeal would take place - but the important thing is that I would live, and later have a better than expected recovery.
This whole sequence of events had a major impact on my life - how I live today, the person I've become. It's shaped my life. It's the reason I didn't end up going into commercial aviation as a pilot - there's no way I could get a medical certification. As I've learned to say, c'est la vie. This event led me down a very different, and I think very fulfilling path in my life. I count my blessings every day, and then some. Life is good.
Revelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 14203 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2531 times:
Quoting Siren (Reply 16): This event led me down a very different, and I think very fulfilling path in my life. I count my blessings every day, and then some. Life is good.
I'm glad your story has a good ending.
It's amazing to me how many times many of us have come close to snuffing it, but it really hasn't seemed to change our lives.
So I'm glad your accident has given you something that made you really evaluate things.
In my case, when I was a teenager, I was not too far away from being pulled out to sea on a rip tide. It's amazing how many summers we hear about some poor kid who did get swept out to sea and drowned, and that summer it could very well have been me. I kept struggling against it, losing ground each time a wave lifted me off the ground. Then I realized my best strategy was to breathe when my feet were on the ground, and as a wave came, duck under it and use my legs to push closer to shore. I was struggling for a good ten minutes before I made it back to the beach and collapsed in a heap. My dumb-ass older brother (also a kid at the time) said something like "I was starting to get worried about you" and I just gave him the dirtiest look I could muster between breaths. I was so angry he didn't come out to get me, but for him, sadly, that was par for the course.
Funny, I really haven't thought about that incident in years.
I did have an accident a few years ago that had me convinced I was split-seconds away from my death. The surprising thing was the total feeling of relief that I felt. I suppose the biggest question we all have is how is it going to end, and in that split-second I knew the answer, and all my worries were over. Having felt that euphoria, I saw a way that might just let me live through it, and I took that way out, and it worked. You would think the whole experience would have changed me some how. The interesting thing was at the time I was on a very good path, and to me the accident was just a confirmation of that, and something that just added to the deep insights I was getting at the time.
CPH-R From Denmark, joined May 2001, 6305 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2504 times:
Probably an exaggeration to think I was in danger, but I was all the way up front at the Pearl Jam concert at Roskilde Festival 2000. I was one of many who thought that the sound level was too low in the back, and had moved closer to get my ears full. As I was getting closer to the front barrier, the crowd density made it nigh impossible to get any closer, and after a while I gave up. I could still see people to either side forcing their way forward, but I settled for a position about 20-25 metres from the front barrier.
I had to leave midway through the concert, as I was doing some volunteer work starting at midnight, so I started making my way backwards out of the crowd, and I was walking on the public access road behind the main stage, when they cut the music completely. It was only a few hours later that I found out that 8 people in the crowd had died from asphyxiation after becoming entangled in each other. A 9th person died in the hospital a few days later.
aerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7742 posts, RR: 16
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2455 times:
Quoting Revelation (Reply 17): It's amazing to me how many times many of us have come close to snuffing it, but it really hasn't seemed to change our lives.
Ultimately feeling yourself close to death does make you feel more alive, rather than just existing - and since my first experience I crave it when it feels like it is missing from my life. I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't had at least one close shave. It defines your personality and therefore who you are. I don't know anyone who remains unchanged either positively or negatively from an incident.
Survival is a constant lottery that some people win small winfalls of bonus time on occasion but which in the end everyone loses everything (the house always wins) I figure death should never limit your actions in life, as you can be the safest person in the world and still end up in the same kind of pine box in the ground as everyone else. You may as well celebrate your survival successes and accept that death is always looming around the corner no matter what you do to pretend you're in control of your life.
geezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2390 times:
I have had so many close calls I hardly know which ones to mention; I guess the first was when I was a about 4 yrs old, I was bitten by a black widow spider; I swelled up, fortunately the hospital was only a mile or less from our house. The doctors told my parents it was a very close call.
When I was about 22, I started driving trucks; steel trucks at first, then freight trucks; always getting laid off.....anyway, I finally got a nice steady job, driving gasoline tank trucks for Texaco. My regular assigned truck was in the shop for something, so this one day they assigned me this old twin-screw B-61 Mack, which had a 7,500 gallon steel tank trailer, I loaded it with Fire Chief (regular gasoline), and headed for Connersville, Indiana. I should mention, I had driven this spare truck on many occasions, and it never did have decent brakes; everyone who drove it always wrote it up for bad brakes.
About 20 miles west of Cincinnati, on U.S. 52 is Brookville, Indiana; at Brookville, I took the left fork on Indiana Rt. 1; Route 1 was and still is a pretty good road, much better than it had been before they rebuilt it a few years before; anyway, a mile or two out of Brookville, Rt 1 crosses over the Whitewater River, and before they rebuilt the road, there had been a steep hill on both sides of the river; now, there was only a very long, maybe a half mile long, nice and straight, not too steep grade on both sides of the river, as they raised the level of the road hundred feet or so. As I arrived at the top of the long grade, at about 55 mph, I observed a car stopped in my lane, at the bottom of the long grade, about a half mile in front of me; I very gently "eased" on my brakes, and nothing happened; I "eased" a little harder, and still nothing happened; the guy at the bottom of the grade was waiting to make a left turn, but he was waiting for traffic that was a mile away from him ! By this time, I'm STANDING on the damned brakes; back then, (around 1964 or so ) road tractors still had very ineffective mechanical parking brakes, quite unlike today's very effective air operated parking brakes ) anyway, as I was getting closer and closer, I engaged the parking brake, as well as the "no longer working" air brakes on all 18 wheels, and now I'm going faster, rather than slower ! And the idiot in the car is STILL sitting there, in the middle of the road !
I should also mention, at the point where the road crossed over the river, it was about 250 or 300 feet down about a 45 degree hillside, from the road to the river. I could plainly see all the way down the grade that I had absolutely NO CHANCE of stopping, but I praying that the car will move ! When I was about 50 from his car, I had made the decision..........better to turn right, go over the side, rather than run over that car, as we all know what happens to truck drivers who run over cars and kill people ! ( I'm even thinking, maybe they'll even think I was "brave" !) At the exact point that I cut my wheels right, left the road, the damned car turned left, and I suddenly had the thought........I'm too young to die, besides I have a family to support ! ( it's really amazing just how much "stuff" you can think about in less than a second or so ! ) Just as my drive wheels are leaving the road, I made the hardest left hand turn of my whole 41 years of driving trucks, ( or at least I TRIED to ), thinking...........I've changed my mind, and maybe, just maybe I can get this piece of junk back on the road !
At this point, I have to explain something that very few people, even truck drivers are aware of: ( and I have absolutely NO IDEA why this was ) , but back in the 50's and early 60's, a very few of the petroleum companies, like Texaco, had for a brief time, used a different type of fifth wheel on their road tractors, than all other trucks use; on all trucks today, and almost all trucks even then, the fifth wheel jaws engage the king pin on the trailer, and all lateral movement between tractor and trailer is accomplished by the king pin pivoting in the jaws of the fifth wheel, and the "straight line, up, and down movement is made by the fifth wheel axle. O. K. that's how MOST trucks work; but Texaco ( and a very few others ) used a "special" fifth wheel; when you backed up to engage the kingpin, you had to be perfectly straight in line with the trailer; THEN, with the fifth wheel jaws locked, you had to get out, and pull like hell on this big lever, and two big 5 inch wide, by 1 inch thick steel "fingers" went straight up, INTO two matching holes in the fifth wheel plate on the trailer, thereby firmly locking the fifth wheel it's self to the fifth wheel plate of the trailer, and preventing all lateral movement between the tractor and the trailer. THEN, the whole fifth wheel assembly pivoted around on a turntable BELOW the fifth wheel.
Every one who drove tank trucks hated these things, mainly because they were about 3 times as much trouble to hook-up to a trailer, and again when you wanted to drop the trailer. Like all the rest, I always "bitched" about the things.
But what absolutely NO ONE was aware of, was how this seemingly crazy type of fifth wheel was attached the the turntable below it; I mean.......it just all looked like one big ugly piece of machinery; well, when I made that HUGE, HARD, DESPERATE jerk to the left, here's what happened, in about 1/10 of a second; unbeknown to me, or even the guys in our shop, that fifth wheel sat on two great big, about 5 inch dia. ball joints, the balls being engaged by two big sockets; the drive wheels were already at about 45 degrees to the road, the weight and momentum of the trailer and it's load made a huge twisting motion, which separated those big balls from their sockets, thus completely releasing the trailer from the tractor, the trailer then rolled completely either 4 or 5 turns before reaching the river, and as it went over a concrete retaining wall it opened the trailer up, nearly cutting it completely in two, all 7,500 gallons of gasoline went flying through the air and into the river, and meantime, the poor old Mack ( with me in it ) rolled exactly 1/2 turn, the roof of the cab hitting a big oak tree, and my driver's side window now looking STRAIGHT UP; it helped that the soil in the hill side was PERFECT ! Moist, but not wet ! just perfect to allow the weight of the tractor to "sink in" slightly, and just BARELY, ( together with a little help from the oak tree ), to keep tractor ( and Charley ) from following the trailer and all that gasoline down to the bottom of the hill. What I have never figured out to this day is, when the tank went over that concrete wall that ripped it in two, there surely must have been some sparks; one spark is all it would have taken, and I would not be re-telling this story.
Within a minute or two, some guys came running down the hill, yelling "are you O.K. ? To which I yelled back........so far, I'm still alive, but if anyone tries to light a cigarette, I probably won't be for very long ! ( At that point I was breathing more gasoline fumes than air ) when they could "size up" the way the tractor was laying, they said.......driver....DO NOT MOVE ! Don't try to climb out ! The thing is ready to roll down the hill; finally, after maybe 10 very :"anxious" minutes, a small tow truck arrived, got a cable secured to the tractor, and I climbed out, WITHOUT a SCRATCH ! Then the real "fun" began; it turns out that there are about 100 head of cows by the river, and they have to keep them from drinking the half-gasoline water, plus get them away from the whole area, and it really took a big effort from a hell of a bunch of people. Finally, a great big wrecker came out and drug the tractor back up and onto the road; it took them about a week to get the wreckage of the tank trailer back up and hauled away.
Now...........the "crazy" fifth wheel every one loves to hate............had it been a "regular" fifth wheel, the tractor would NOT have separated, and you would never have heard about this incident ; I did a lot of reading "up" about this thing afterwards, and that fifth wheel did just exactly what it's designer had intended for it to do, in the unlikely event of just such a roll-over ever occurring ! It saved my life. ( And wouldn't you know, they no longer use them ! )
The "aftermath"...........as everyone knows, truck drivers are ALWAYS at fault; Texaco decided to "take me off the truck"; they impounded the tractor, and did everything they could to prevent anyone from inspecting it; this worked for a few weeks, but finally a court order was issued, all the components of the brake system and air system were examined, and it was determined that the air supply valve on the rear end was "in-op", thereby preventing sufficient air to flow through to operate the drive wheel brakes, or the trailer brakes; actually, about 80% of the brake effort I had came from the two front steering wheels ! I ended up running the loading rack for the next 3 years, and getting tons of overtime every week, pumping barges every six days when our fuel tow boat arrived with our products. Made about half again as much money. Then, I finally got away from that VERY hazardous job, while I was still alive, and went to hauling freight.
Over the next 35 or so years, I had a number of "hairy" things happen, but none closer "to the edge" than this one.
About 5 years ago, I thought I was having a heart attack; went to the ER, checked me out ( all night long ), they say it's probably muscle spasm, ( but it wouldn't hurt to go see a cardiologist, which I did, he says everything's OK, but I probably better see the urologist across the hall; I did, he thinks I'm OK, but decides to "run some tests", which he did, now he says we better do a biopsy to "be sure", which he did; come back next week for the "results"; Next week........Hey Charley, hate to tell you, but you have prostate cancer ! But not to worry...........we have some "options";
I picked "option C", had 96 little seeds of titanium ( with radio-active iodine cores ) implanted in the "offending gland", had to use a hose to "do my thing" for a year or so, every six months my PSA numbers improve, and as far as he can tell, I'm completely "out of the woods"; then, on a visit last year, he says, "remember when you first walked in the door here ?" Me: Yeah, I remember very clearly, why ? He; "well, the tests we did indicated that; had you not received treatment when you did, you would have been "pushing up daisies" within about two months.................
That's cutting it pretty damned fine folks ! Maybe I should change my "handle" to "LUCKY" ?
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
RussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7784 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2333 times:
was found collapsed with a post-viral brain encepalopathy. Had tred to make it to the bathroom, collapsed and knocked myself unconscious in the process. Foundf, by some miracle, just in time. Two hours of work by a medical team before being airlifted to hospital, flatlined twice before the flight. Several days in a coma, lucky someone found me who wouldn't normally have been home. Thank you God.
✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
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