Reddit users who have survived catastrophic events, such as plane crashes, shipwrecks, earthquakes and more, have been sharing their most harrowing stories, so we’ve gathered some of their captivating tales down below. We’ll warn you right now that these recollections might unlock some new fears within you, pandas, but they’re also a testament to how resilient humans are. So enjoy reading these inspiring stories, and be sure to upvote the ones you'd like to see turned into films!
#1On my 16th birthday my dad, friend and I were leaving my friends ranch in Texas ( had a guys weekend to celebrate) in our families Piper Cherokee 180. All of our friends were lined up alongside the runway watching us takeoff to head home. Everything was going fine and then once we got up over the trees about 300ft in the air the wind turned at was at our back and took all of the lift away from us, so the plane started falling really fast, not gliding, there was absolutely no lift so we just fell. There's nothing you can do in that situation in this plane with such little power either. We hit the trees and the wing on my side ( passenger side) of the plane got completely torn off leaving a huge hole in the fuselage where I was sitting, then the plane rolled because the wing was gone and we landed nose down upside down in the woods. The next thing I know I'm hanging upside down in my seat and its the weirdest feeling ever. I describe it like in war movies when a bomb or grenade goes off and suddenly its silent, ears ringing, everything seems to be in slow motion. That's exactly what I felt like until slowly I started hearing my dad yelling to get out of the plane, I didn't realize his side of the plane was going up in flames, very fast. So I went to crawl out of the plane but my seat belt was stuck on something and for the life of me I couldn't get it undone but my dad said he looked up and the only thing he saw, like it was glowing or something was my belt buckle stuck on the strap so he reached up and ripped it off and out I went. Then my dad went to escape and said he heard my friend yelling that he was stuck in the backseat because the seats wouldn't fold forward. They were jammed because the roof had crushed down on top of them not allowing them to fold forward and out of the way. My dad says he doesn't remember this part but my friend says he will never forget it, he says my dad reached back and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him through the seats and threw him out of the plane. He has no recollection of that. So by this time the cabin of the plane is completely engulfed in flames and my dad is still inside, he doesn't know where we are, he thinks we got stuck in a tree or something so when he goes to escape he does a weird dead fish dive out of the side of the plane, so seeing that he's on fire and still half way inside the plane I ran back into the fire and pulled him out and we all took off running. We made it about 40ft away when the gas in the wing on the other side of the plane that hadn't been ripped off caught fire and exploded blowing us all on the ground. All of this sounds like it took a while, but we were out of the plane in 15 seconds after hitting the ground. The only injuries were to my knee and all I needed were 20 staples and some stitches and I'm completely fine today. The FAA said they've never seen a crash like ours that 1. anyone has walked away from and 2. that EVERYONE walked away from and without almost any injuries. Its a complete miracle that were alive today!!!
Image credits: creedthings
#2I was stuck in a bushfire in Australia. My S.O., myself, and our infant son were in the car evacuating on the only road out of our small town. We got very little warning as the fire moved so fast. The fire was coming on the right side of the road, and smoke was everywhere, so we could hardly see. My S.O. was driving and luckily saw the truck in front of us and stopped just in time before hitting it. The fire started to blow across the road and ignite the bush on our left. Embers were raining down on our car; we just stared at them bouncing off the car bonnet. I saw a flashing red glow in the smoke beyond the truck, and it took a minute or so to work out what I was seeing; it was a fire service truck. I had to fight every bit of instinct I had in me, which was screaming at me to grab my baby, hide him inside my clothes, and run toward the red lights.
I doubt I'd have made it. A semi-trailer truck (18-wheeler) had jack-knifed in the road and was blocking the way. We couldn't see if anyone was in the truck, and I was going to go out and check, but the fire was now at the roadside on our right, and years of fire safety education had taught me you stay in the car.
The fire was literally blowing around in front of us, but damn if that wasn't the strongest instinct I've ever felt. I just sat there in the car repeating over and over to myself, 'Stay in the car; stay in the car.' My S.O. managed to contact the firies on the UHF to alert them to our presence. They sprayed water over us while a secondary truck drove through the burning scrub around the big truck to reach us, and then the rest all was a blur, being transferred to their truck and driving out of there watching the bushfire raging behind us. Saw the news in the hospital where they reported two deceased people found in that semi-trailer truck. Volunteer firefighters saved our lives
Image credits: pedazzle
#3I was working in a lab full of compressed gas and many chemicals. I always followed safety protocol which definitely save my life that day. I was asked to return an nearly full 6,000 pound Argon tank to the chemistry department that day. We had not been trained in cylinders, and my understanding was that screwing the valve closes the bottle. The delivery company had tired of returning cylinders so they had put a special bypass around the regulator to make refills easier. Long story short-I basically detonated a 6,000 pound mom next to my face.
I remember a small hiss, and thinking "now that is strange, I don't recall that ever happening". The next thing I remember is waking up in the hallway in the fetal position, screaming in pain. I had been knocked completely unconscious and the Argon had displaced all the air on the floor. A lab mate drug me out by my arm. I had sustained a severe concussion-so much Argon had been forced through my skin and into my brain, when I touched my skin it was like foam, full of tiny sacs of Argon. I required an overnight stay in the ICU and 20 staples to my head. The metal had just grazed under my chin, cutting it. My throat was nearly ripped through by a piece of metal moving with the force of a rifle slug (my labmates calculated that for me!). The explosion was so loud, I could not hear anything for at least several minutes and my ears ring to this day, years later.
If you're out there Phil-thank you. You saved my life that day.
Image credits: _snapcase_
#4I got buried in an avalanche a few years ago. Three of my friends and I were skiing, and the area we were at received about 4 feet of snow in a matter of a day or two. Long story short, I was behind my friend, and he triggered the slide, but I got caught in it. I tried skiing out of it, but there's not much you can do. I got flipped over, and snow rushed down over the top of me. I thought I was a goner, as I was literally stuck and not able to move any part of my body.
Fortunately, I was able to wiggle my left hand free, which allowed me to get my arm to move around enough for my friend, who happened to notice what happened, to see where I was and dig me out.
Image credits: GAMMATITAN
#5When I was 9, we were traveling from our cabin back to town with a open boat. This was right before easter. About a 45 min trip. The seas were rough and the boat had a built in flaw that caused it to break in two pieces due to the pounding on the waves. I sat faced towards the back, so I didnt see it break, just suddenly had water up to my waist. When I turned around the nose was floating a couple of meters away from the boat. My moms husband at the time just said "jump" and so we did, into the black 2 deegre water of the northsea, as far away from the boat as possible. This was by far the scariest moment. Her husband managed to launch 2 emergency rockets before the boat vanished below him. He was a very poor swimmer, and even though we tried to hold on to him, he got away from us due to large waves constantly covering us. After that it was about 10 min of trying to swim to shore which was about 400m away, before realizing we were never going to make it. After that we basically dodged waves and made bad taste jokes. We saw people on the shore, cars stopped on the highway. The last thing I remember before blacking out is a boat aproaching. Then I woke up in the hospital basically trashing around from the cramps of my body trying to warm up. Apparantly I had a temp of 27 degrees when they brought me in. My mom was awake the whole time. She lost control of her limbs right after I blacked out, and gripped a rope from my lifewest with her teeth so I wouldnt float away. Even though though this is a scary story there are some awesome elements to it. An old fisherman in a house by the shore saw the whole thing. He was desperatly trying to get a hold of rescue services, but noone was where they were supposed to be. His wife having lost both her previous husband and also a son at sea had some kind of a health issue while watching us swim around. So he had to take care of her, and try to get us help. The most bad**s part of the story is how we got rescued. One of my moms husbands friends got a call about what was happening. Got in his boat with his 8 month pregnant wife, and went full speed to our location. The boat he had was not designed for high seas. It was a summer type cabin cruiser. So he had to stear it towards the waves at all times. His wife then proceeded to pull 3 fully clothed people up to safety. Including an unconcious me. If anyone has ever tried to pull someone out of the water, you know how difficult it is. We all survived, I was totally fine, aside from my balls swelling up to 3 times the normal size for a couple of days. Mom tore a bunch of stuff in her back. Husband swallowed about 4 liters of saltwater and was sick for week. TLDR: Boat broke i two, cold water, amazing rescue.
Image credits: Codvodka
#6Coming into this late, but I was living on Japan's Tohoku coast when the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit.
I was actually taking a bath when the earthquake hit. I can't even tell you how intense it was; I literally couldn't stand up. It was the first earthquake that had actually frightened me since I came to Japan (I grew up in Alaska, so they were nothing new to me), and it was the first one that actually shook things down from my shelves. Japanese earthquake engineering is something else, I'm telling you.
I knew it was a bad one, so I got out of the bath and dressed as quickly as I could. Since I lived right on the coast, I was already getting ready to leave when the "Get the hell to higher ground" tsunami alarm started. I threw a few necessary things into a bag, pulled on my winter coat, and headed for the hills, quite literally. There were already officials on the ground directing people to safe places (the Japanese have this earthquake thing wired, yo), and I ended up high on the hillside at a community rec center with a few hundred of my neighbors.
20 minutes after the quake, the tsunami hit. It was unreal, the sheer volume of water that came in, and the power of it. I watched it destroy my neighborhood. The noise is what I remember most, how loud it was.
I had to spend the night at the rec center, because it wasn't safe to go down. It was one of the more miserable nights of my life. There were constant aftershocks, the rec center was cold and loud, and I couldn't make any calls, so I knew my family had to be going nuts.
I walked out the next day. There's no way to describe the destruction. I didn't even recognize the place I'd lived for over two years. My apartment building was completely gone.
I ended up staying with friends on the less-damaged side of town for the next week. It took almost three days for me to be able to get a message to my family that I was alive. The US government was useless, btw. I finally managed to hitch a ride to the prefectural capital with some American Army people, and my company helped me by giving me my paycheck early and arranging a place to stay (which they also paid for). My family had some people working on things back home, and they got me a plane ticket. It took a bit of doing to get to Tokyo (a lot of rail lines were down), but I was able to get to Narita in time for my flight.
It was more traumatic than I even realized at the time. When I got home, I heard a helicopter and had a full-on flashback. It took a long time for me to come to terms with it, but ultimately, I feel fortunate to have survived.
Image credits: silly_gaijin
#7I was in a plane crash in 2013. Three friends and I had taken a Cessna to interior British Columbia for a long weekend. One friend even had their private pilot's license. The day we were heading home, it was quite hot, and the plane was, according to investigators, over-loaded and over-fueled for the heat/altitude. Once we reached maybe 2,000 feet above takeoff, we began losing airspeed. The pilot panicked and did some steep turns in an attempt to gain some speed, but it scrubbed nearly all our altitude pretty much instantly. Now at a few hundred feet and descending rapidly, the pilot aimed for a farmer's field. They managed to level out at around tree height, but we were quickly running out of field. Maybe a hundred or so meters before the end of the field, they dropped the plane to the ground, the nose dug in, and we flipped end for end. I ended up walking away essentially unscathed, with minor bruising from the seat belt and some small scratches. The pilot had a pretty good cut and bashed their knee up on the dashboard. The front passenger (my girlfriend) took pretty much the brunt of it all. Her seat ripped off the floor, smashing her against the roof. It shredded the ligaments in one side of her neck, compressed her spine, and concussed her badly. The ligaments were bad and are still causing issues now, years later. But the post-concussion issues were far worse.
Watching someone I love lose the ability to read, remember what they had for breakfast or whether or not they HAD breakfast, maintain any semblance of emotional stability, or even do something like play a board game to pass the time (learning and remembering rules was too stressful) is the worst thing I have ever experienced. It took a solid two years before things started returning to what I could call normal.
Image credits: cactussword
#8I was in a plane crash when I was 9 years old. It was a small plane with four doors and a propeller, with only my dad and me in it. We were about 1,000 feet over the San Francisco Bay when the engine quit. The plane proceeded to fall. We approached the water as my 9-year-old brain was coming to grips with the concept of death and such. We hit the water, and the plane skipped a few times as water began to flood through the floor. My dad and I got out and sat on the wing of our sinking plane for about 30 minutes, and the plane was too sunk to stay sitting on, so we had no choice but to swim to shore. The shoreline was miles away at least; however, we had no other options. As we were swimming (mind you, the water was freezing in October), another recreational pilot in a helicopter flew overhead and attempted to drop us life jackets. One was horribly off the mark, but we were able to grab one.
After swimming for half a mile in T-shirts and shorts, we came across a mudflat and dragged ourselves onto it. We were waiting there for a while, and a department of fish and game boat trolled by, looking for illegal hunters. This led to our rescue! When I got home, I took the best shower of my life.
Now, I’m 19 and still have a residual fear of flying, but I am OK with flying on my own and all that. What really impacted me is the experience of a worst-case scenario and how my mind will usually jump to that in most situations. This anxiety has led to me being incredibly jumpy and on edge constantly. PTSD can manifest itself in all walks of life, with even the littlest things resulting in my getting spooked. As a 9-year-old without any follow-up therapy, coming to terms with this on my own has really shaped my character.
The cause of the crash? Condensation in the fuel bladders of the plane put water in the engine, killing it mid-flight. They didn’t successfully recover the plane, but they managed to pull it up out of the water to see if they could determine a cause. The plane was far too damaged to be anything other than scrap at that point
Image credits: critty15
#9I survived a nearly EF-5 tornado.
A few years ago, living in rural Arkansas, the weather got bad. This is hardly an uncommon occurrence. My now-fiance and I had just gotten a puppy that very day, and we also had two cats at home. We lived in a duplex. Around, 7:30ish? our phones started alerting to severe weather, and we switched on the TV to watch the radar. Tornado. Heading our way. I threw my cats in the bathroom, while my partner went outside to watch the weather. It was pouring rain. Never heard such heavy rain before. And then - the rain stopped. He rushed in, threw everything out of the innermost closet, and we hunkered in there with the puppy. He texted his parents: Tornado. And we waited.
They say it sounds like a freight train, and they're right. The building was shaking, and there was this roar. I was terrified. Holding the puppy and my phone with one arm/hand, holding my partner's hand with the other, just waiting for the building to collapse on me. He said he was quite certain we were about to die.
And then... it stopped. We came out of the closet, and out of the house to look around, dazed, just like the neighbors. I called my parents a few towns over - they owned the property, so I was telling them what was damaged. Our duplex was fine, some minor stuff only. A tree had fallen within inches of both another duplex and a neighbor's vehicle. Another tree had fallen on a third duplex - that one was totalled by the insurance company, it's an empty slab now. But no one in our immediate neighborhood was killed or injured. A lady in the destroyed one had been luckily sheltering in her bathroom, as the tree came down right over her bed.
We were all unhurt, but it was the most terrifying experience of my life, because the tornado - which did cause several deaths elsewhere - had literally jumped over our little neighborhood. Had it stayed on the ground, we'd surely be dead now.
Image credits: hockeypup
#10Survived the Isla Vista shooting of 2014. I still get jumpy when I hear fireworks or other loud noises. My immediate response is almost always to scramble under the nearest table. PTSD is a b***h.
Image credits: gnadanaid
#11My husband's parents lived on a boat off the coast of Asia for a while about 20something years ago. Well when my mother-in-law was about 8 months pregnant with my brother-in-law, the boat sank in the middle of the ocean. It happened slowly, over the course of a day or so, so the couple sent out a bunch of distress calls, packed the important things, and camped out in the lifeboat while the ship sank. They saved a few nice things for their eventual rescuers: a nice canned ham and a good bottle of wine. Well, they were eventually picked up by the Exxon Valdez, which was fortunate. Unfortunately, at the time the crew was entirely Muslim, and as such the canned ham and nice wine weren't ideal gifts
Image credits: LatrodectusGeometric
#12I was on the top floor of a six-storey building in Kathmandu when the almost 7 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal in 2015. I was with my girlfriend and I remember the whole building swaying side-to-side as if it was a reed in the wind. My girlfriend screamed and asked if we were being bombed but somehow I knew it was an earthquake and I told her so. I held her under a door frame, like we'd been taught and when the shaking stopped, we ran out like our lives depended on it.
We were lucky. Our building didn't collapse but so many others did. Thousands of people died in that earthquake. I still have PTSD, whenever my building shakes because of a passing truck or a heavy vehicle, I think instinctively that it is another earthquake
Image credits: anon
#13Here's a question I can honestly answer: I survived an airplane crash. The story: My mother owned a few aircraft and hangar at our small town's airport. I spent a lot of time at the airport as I was growing up spending summer washing airplanes, sweeping out hangars, etc. One warm summer afternoon in the mid-1980's we planned to take a short flight in her Piper J-3 Cub. This plane was built in the mid-1940's and had an aluminum skeleton covered in fabric and tandem seats, one in front, one in back. I sat in front due to the better view and my mom, the pilot, sat in back. I remember the pre-flight, and some taxiing to the runway, but nothing else. Now the rest of the story I received second hand. Neither my mom nor I remember anything of the actual accident due to the massive head trauma we both received. But what I've heard from family and the ambulance drivers who arrived on the scene is that on take off (the most dangerous part of any flight, imho) we lost power. Engine cut out, not really sure why. So with a relatively slow airspeed and no thrust from the engine we changed from being a beautiful flying machine to a brick, rather quickly. Well, we dropped like a brick and proceeded to hit the ground in a rather quick manner. The ambulance drivers who arrived on the scene thought we were done for. Things did not look good for us. But after a helicopter ride to the nearest trauma center a hundred miles away, we are still alive and breathing today. I spent about 5 weeks in the hospital, but only remember the last two. To remind me what happened I have nasty scars on my lower lip and chin and a dent on the side of head. One thing I find myself wondering is if I had the chance to relive the whole thing over again would I want to remember? At this point in my life I can say I would not. Such things are not worth remembering. And did we ever fly again? You bet. As soon as my mom was able to pass a flight physical we were both up in the air again
Image credits: geneaskew
#14I was in a plane crash, but luckily it wasn't catastrophic. It was about 10 years ago, and I was flying from Seattle to a small airport in the Pacific Northwest in a tiny airplane. It was winter and raining. It was also very cloudy. There was so much turbulence; the place rocked the whole ride. Somewhere along the way, in the clouds, we crossed paths with another flight. The tail of the plane I was on hit the top of the other plane. S**t was insane. The plane lost stability and started dropping altitude so fast! The air masks deployed while we were just falling. Everyone put them on. Wanna know the strangest part? No one said a f***ing word. Silence. Descent. Anxiety and fear. People were praying and just not saying anything. The plane continued to fall; however, the pilot eventually and luckily regained control. You know how in Fight Club, Tyler Durden says no one spoke of the masturbation session? It was like that; no one said a word on the small flight until we landed. I guess we were all afraid that something would happen again. Accepted death as a possibility. Very surreal experience. I have a lot of anxiety about flights to this day. I used to drink before flights. Now I just accept death as a possibility every time I get aboard a giant metal craft defying gravity
Image credits: ROCKnROT
#15When I was 10 or 11 years old, I was involved in a scary sailboat mishap. My father and I rented a small sailboat to take on the local lake. It was a nice day; however, there were strong wind gusts in the middle of the lake. It is important to note that my father is not an experienced skipper despite his exuberant confidence. While trying to be like his New England buddies, my father had me get on the same side of the boat that he was on, shifting all the weight to one side. That was a grave error. Suddenly, a burst of wind tipped us right over, and as we fell the boat came over on top of us into the water. Now stuck under the boat, I had to swim through the sail and rope blocking my path to the surface. I am still amazed to this day that I did not get tangled in the rigging, potentially drowning myself. The biggest thing that helped in this scenario was staying calm and collecting my thoughts
Image credits: anon
#16When I was 8, 1968. A flight from Miami to Japan. Due to my mom passing away before i could talk it over as an adult . All I know is we refuiled in Honolulu. It was night headed to Japan and we just dropped 2000 feet. No one was buckled all sleeping. We stayed in the air long enough to crash on a small fighter base. Belly landed. Lots of turmoil. They put us up in barracks. Quanset huts, bunk bed cots.when morning came we when out to look at the plane .we were all women and children. And you could hear the sighs all at once. The plane was off the end of the runway and part in the water. 100 yards and we would have drown. The run way was trashed. Had to bring in cee bee s to rebuild it so a cargo plane could land. Great vacation. The only thing we could do was sit on the beach.
This fun trip never crosses my mind. But The Flight movie , i was in the theater and there was the scene of them looking altitude suddenly, for the first time in 50 years I lost my s**t. Jumped up and ran out of the theater. It bewildered me. I was still shaking.
#17I was at an airshow when I was 14, riding co-pilot in a twin-engine Piper Seneca. We dropped off some sky divers, then came back down to land. As we were taxiing down the length of the runway back to the hanger, an Ultralight was taking off and stalled — it literally fell out of the sky and smashed directly into our plan headon; went right through the props. It was like crashing a Pinto into a Bugatti ($4,000 versus about $500,000). There were two people in that Ultralight (the guy didnt have a license; and you need it to carry passengers). Amazingly, no one was hurt. I guess he told the airport he was going to get a truck and come back. I’m told he never came back, and just left the plane. I’m sure they eventually found him, but I dont know what came of it.
#18I went overboard in a storm once working on a gill net salmon boat in Alaska. The current swept me under the boat, I ended up pinned face down to the underside of the hull by my life jacket. My crewman saw my rain jacket hood sticking out off the hull, grabbed it and pulled me out.
#19My husband survived an EF 4/5 tornado that went directly over his back.
He was driving on the highway. Rural WI. Noticed a funnel cloud barreling down behind him. He could not out drive it.
He pulled over, grabbed his dog, lay down as flat as he could beside the highway, clutching a log and protecting the dog.
He said the debris pelted his body. The trees nearby were plucked up vertically and sent horizontally like arrows. The high tension wires failed and flailed. The wind/suction picked up his truck 4 feet off the pavement and moved it 20 feet ahead.
The wind/suction picked up his legs like a baby, flailing above his head as he continued to clutch the dog and the log.
He said he had enough time to contemplate if he could hang on any longer. The thought of losing his dog made him hang on until it was over.
When he got to his truck, all the windows were imploded. When I saw him the next day, every square centimeter over his entire body had shrapnel marks. His dog lost her hearing. He lost partial hearing in one ear.
His truck, was like a Monet. From far away, it looked fine! Close up, every single inside and outside surface had dings and scratches complete with the grass/straw wedged into and sticking out of unusual crevices that defied logic. Totaled.
PTSD for a good year after that.
#20Probably a bit too late to the party but when I was 10 my house kinda blew up.
When I was 10 years old, less than 10 days before Christmas time there was a gas leak at my house. We had no idea it was leaking, but it had been building up behind hour wall near the gas fireplace for a while. In the morning I was getting ready to go to school. My mom was almost ready to go to work, and I was tying my shoes to head out the door. My mom comes out of the bathroom and is putting on her earrings, grabbing her self phone, etc and is heading toward the door. She tells me to unplug the christmas tree lights (we love decorating). When I did the spark from unplugging them ignited the box around the socket, and then the pocket of gas behind the wall. It all blew up. The fire place was pushed out of the wall in one whole piece. The wall was destroyed. The mantle over the fireplace flew clear across the room. The Nutcrackers we left on the fireplace flew across the room and 2 got embedded in the wall. The Christmas tree (luckily a fake plastic one) was knocked over. The side facing the wall was curled, melted, and burned. Almost every ornament made of breakable stuff was shattered. Rather from the boom, or the fall, hard to tell. The shock wave traveled through the house, down the hallway into my moms room and blew out the sliding glass door, and blew it into the pool in pieces the size of pennies or smaller. All throughout the house were stress cracks in the sheet rock. Cracks in windows. Various things. We were lucky. I got minor burns on my face. I was just off to the side of said blown up wall. My mom was sitting on a chair near the door, far away from it all. Had she sat on the couch to put on her shoes (as she does sometimes) she may have been severely injured or worse. There was no real fire. It was more of a blast of really hot air, really fast. The fireman chief called it a "flash fire" There was no fire because there was nothing close enough to the hottest part that could ignite. (good thing we got a fake reusable tree that year to save money) If we had not, it DEFINITELY would of blown up.
#21We were not in the plane; we were under it on the ground. My brother remembers better than I the collision above us. In 1984, the wings of two Pipers collided in the air as spectators watched a kids football game. One began crashing away from us, the other headed directly for us. Somebody authoritatively screamed, "Get away from the field! Run!" Amazingly, within seconds, we all scrambled before the plane crashed in the field before us. It was a very, very close call. Men rushed over to the wreck, ultimately just throwing coats over the parts no person should see. The pilots of both planes perished; the other plane knocked out the city power that night. By candlelight, the event was discussed with the family. Later, I asked my dad, "Do you think we should tell him?" "Tell him what?" "That it wasn't two people. That it was just the same man in two pieces? Brother told the man from the news that he saw two dead people. He was wrong." "No, do not tell him." We never talked about it again. I didn't even think of this event until 27 years later, after a car wreck. I began to experience PTSD symptoms a few months after the head-on collision. My wreck, the planes crashing and another memory of witnessing a deadly ferris wheel accident became my prominent thoughts. Now, when I think about the plane falling on us, running for our lives amidst the scrawny boys in football gear, bellied coaches, referees with useless whistles bouncing off their chests, the ferris wheel people holding on for their lives, strangers cheering you can do it hold on and the letting go people, I try to add on the memories of the people that helped, how calm and sweet my parents were. Even though people died in terrible ways, and we saw terrible things, many survived. I must dignify the worst. I remind myself that I also saw many boring things, beautiful things as a child. Otherwise, I will forget to buy peanut butter and take the good puppers for walks in the woods.
#22On a summer vacation where all 7 of us stayed in a little tiny cabin at a tourist park whose name I forget, there was a freak weather system that spawned a gigantic tornado out of absolutely nowhere in the middle of the night. Neither of the two (lol) of the news/weather services in the area saw it coming and the park staff were caught flat-footed. When someone noticed it coming straight at the park the alert was put out every way they possibly could. CB radio, rural 911, state trooper radios, red rocket flares, literally everything they could think of.
The first clue we had of anything was waking up at the dead of night to a park ranger shouting at us to get up and evacuate. We got our shoes on and some jackets and BOOKED IT like we were charging up the beach on D-Day, complete with sirens screaming and the sky a sickly green and the wind roaring. Everyone got herded to the only available shelter within miles; a concrete official building of some kind (I remember a poster for food stamps b/c it had a picture of a kid who looked my age).
That was one of the few times dad or mom got genuinely scared in front of us kids, and that included other times we woke up to tornadoes at midnight. Hundreds of strangers were all packed in, chattering and trying to look decent in their PJ's (mom was mortified). Someone had brought a big black dog who was taking things quite well and all us kids petted him.
The tornado ended up swerving and chewing along the edge of the park property (IIRC) instead of tearing right through the park proper. Some people got broken windshields but our van just got a few dings from thrown rocks. Things could have easily gone a LOT worse.
#23In May 1998, a tornado roared thru SE South Dakota, leveling the town of Spencer; killing 8, injuring many. Right before the tornado touched down, I was in my car driving on I-90. Rain & wind were severe. Cars were pulled to the side of the road. I thought I could make it home.....until my car started moving on its own & slightly lifted off the road. I quickly pulled over near the next overpass. Hurdled the guardrail, ran up the embankment,(losing a shoe in the mud), huddled under the overpass bridge along with about a dozen other travelers.
The tornado passed over us moments later. It was a wall of heavy rain & mud & extreme wind. It next hit Spencer, literally flattened the town.
We were all safe under that bridge. Now authorities say never to shelter under an overpass, but it sure worked on that occasion. A Canadian couple who were there kept screaming "OH, SH$T! we don't have tornadoes in Canada! OH SH$T OH SH$T! ! " Over and over. Babies were crying, people screaming. Something I'll never forget.
#24In 2004, I was caught up in the Boscastle floods in Cornwall. I was 14 at the time, and was on holiday with my mum, dad and younger brother.
We’d arrived in the picturesque village of Boscastle to do the typical tourist things and parked in the car park which was right next to the river. I remember standing looking at the river when we got out of the car - others were too. It was really going some, but nobody thought anything of it. After a few minutes, we headed further down the river towards the ‘witches museum’, which was quite the attraction for the sleepy village. I can’t remember much of the museum, but I’m sure it was excellent.
We were near the end when the owner ran round saying we had to leave immediately as the river had burst its banks. We left, but at 14 years old, I was rather annoyed we hadn’t got to the end. Obviously that was where the REALLY good bits were!
Unfortunately, by this point, the route back to the car park was blocked by a torrent of water. Fortunately, there was a high pass that we could walk along to snake up and around the village and get back to the car. It was however a long walk (run) back and by the time we reached the car park, it was knee deep in water.
My dad took his shoes off and rolled up his jeans and went to fetch the car. At this point, cars were still getting out. I can remember the shop on the corner seemed to be getting looted - or maybe they were just giving away stock that they knew was going to waste anyway. We stood for a while, waiting for my dad to pull the car around, but the water kept getting higher.
It wasn’t just the depth of the water though that stands out. Water is powerful! A couple of young ladies had the same idea of rescuing their car and got stuck. They found refuge on a glass recycling bin. The moment scary kicked in was when the water started to move the bin. This was an industrial sized bin, assumingely filled with glass. The water just picked it up and started to move it. At that point, people started to panic and realised this wasn’t just a bit of water you could wade through.
A couple of locals in wetsuits went in and managed to get the ladies on the bin to safety. At the same time, my dad returned - without the car.
As a family, we made our way up to higher ground to a nearby pub and had a cup of tea. Being English, this of course makes everything better. And it did, until I noticed through the window, our red ford mondeo bobbing along the water in the distance. I went to ask my Dad, who was sat next to me facing the window, “is (that our car)?”, but he cut me off, saying “yes, it is the time to leave and move to higher ground”. He’d seen our car too, but didn’t want to panic my Mum.
We went to leave the pub, and the water had risen considerably higher. In the pub, we hadn’t noticed it, but upon us leaving and commenting on it, everyone else left too.
We all walked up the road and were taken in by a local couple who seemed to have an endless supply of bottled water. I’m not sure why they did, or why I remember that, but I’m very grateful for their disaster planning!
We stayed for a few hours before being collected by a minibus that took us to a local sports hall where the Red Cross had setup a disaster shelter. We spent the night there, though none of us (except my younger brother) slept.
In the morning, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time, John Prescott arrived. He made his way round the sports hall talking to each family and person one by one. He reached us, and me and my younger brother stood up. Mr Prescott reached out and shook my Dad’s hand and simply asked, “So what’s your problem?”
I’m amazed that nobody died that day. The rescue effort was incredible and the help and support of the local community certainly played an integral part.
For reference: my parents insurance paid out fully on the car - no questions asked, and provided a hire car the very next day for the rest of our holiday
#25One winter a friend rented a big boat in Tahoe for a wedding, about 100 people. Soon after sunset the lights went out and the crew started running around. They had everyone get out on the back deck and told us that the boat was sinking.
We could see rescue boats coming out, but they were too far away to get there in time.
In no time, there was water sloshing up the sides and the deck began to keel over. It was horrific, everyone was ankle deep in water. I scurried up on a ladder, just in time to keep my shoes dry.
Turned out we sunk in 20' of water or something, I was the only one to stay totally dry... but damn it was cold!
Image credits: KillerJupe
#26I was four years old and we were in the sea with my family when my cousin started to call my uncle's attention. After she was shrugged off a couple of times things got serious when we saw a flip-flop floating by me and my mom. It was 25 minutes of pure panic while the adults tried to scoop the water off the small fishing boat, calling the coastguard and getting us all to safety. I remember my mom embracing me as the boat sank more and more. There were too many of us who couldn't swim for the grownups to take care of. We now have plenty of lifejackets handy when we go out for a ride. wear your goddamn lifejackets.
Image credits: 75percent-juice
#27I remember being a young child on vacation with my family in cottage country. My whole family, around nine of us, tried to fit on a tiny little motorboat. Not too long after we left the shore, everyone realized something wasn't right with the boat. Within five minutes, the boat began to sink. I did not know how to swim, and neither did my dad. My dad grabbed onto me because I was the only one wearing a life jacket. His heavy body weight began to pull my little body down despite having a life jacket. I began to panic because I thought my dad was going to drown. My sister tried to swim around to get all of our fishing gear and everything we lost on the boat. We all survived, and in the end, everything was OK; but my dad never went on a boat again (it’s been almost 15 years), and I never learned how to properly swim because of the fear of drowning. I have swum with a life jacket on, and I still get horrible anxiety over it. I’ve gone on vacation to Cuba several times, and I can’t get into the water because I’m afraid the waves will take me under.
Image credits: shangonc92
#28My brother, dad, his friend, and I went sailing one day. The plan was to sail a few miles out round an old oil platform and back. My dad's friend was at the helm and was pretty inexperienced. My dad and I were down below making tea when all of a sudden, WHACK. There was this horrible bang and scraping sound. We had hit an illegal lobster pot, and its anchoring line had wrapped around both our rudder and propeller. We were stuck with no steering and full sails up. We had to quickly lower the sails as we were being practically capsized by the wind blowing the sails. The stern of the boat was being dragged under, and we were slowly taking on water. Of course, we put out a mayday call straight away, and all we could do was wait to be rescued. As we were waiting, the tide was coming in, and we were slowly being dragged underwater. There was f**k all we could do but prepare for the worst. The lifeboat arrived as most of the stern was underwater, and they boarded our boat with an awesome-looking scythe thing to attempt to cut the line that was wrapped around our boat. Unfortunately, they couldn’t free us, and by this point, water was almost flowing into the cabin down below, so they evacuated us onto the lifeboat. We never saw that yacht again. It wasn’t all that dramatic, to be honest. We kept our cool, and I’m actually fully trained in large-scale fire, evacuation, man overboard, and first-aid procedures for large commercial ships, so it was just a real-life drill for me. I actually filmed the whole experience on my dad's camcorder. The RNLI are real heroes. I seriously look up to those guys and wish they got paid a whole lot more than they do (most are actually volunteers). I remember one of the lifeboatmen was pretty pissed because he had been out having dinner with his wife for their anniversary, and he really didn’t appreciate me putting a camera in his face
Image credits: sunburnedtourist
#29I was in a bus fire a few years ago. I was sleeping one minute and being rushed off the bus the next. The vehicle had been driving slowly and smelled funny, but no one thought anything of it until someone looked out the window and saw smoke. We were evacuated and managed to run just a few yards when we heard a BOOM. I turned around and saw flames surrounding the bus. We phoned 911 and called our parents, and eventually, another bus from the company rescued us from the side of the road. As we rode by the charred shell of a vehicle, I saw that the seats, including the one I had been sitting in maybe a half-hour prior, were melted.
Image credits: Free2Be_EmilyG
#30When I was 19, my buddy and I went fishing in a pretty big lake in Gainesville, Florida. I was sitting at the very front with the cooler to try to balance out the weight, and while we were crossing the middle of the lake in our Gheenoe boat, we had a paddle strapped to the side, and it caught the water while we were going about 20 mph. It threw us probably 7–10 feet and immediately started sinking. About five minutes before that happened, we decided to put both of our phones in a waterproof box, which ultimately saved us because there was no one else out that day, given it was a little chilly outside. So after we were in the water, the boat started sinking fast. My friend and I stayed calm and started brainstorming on what we should do. The first thing I did was swim down to the boat and find the phones. Once that happened we called the police, but their response time was awful. We were treading in water that was cold enough to give us hypothermia with the box that had our phones in it over our heads for about 50 minutes until the dispatch lady said they were commandeering someone else’s boat because theirs wasn’t starting.
Once we got out, the officers told us they were expecting to find us dead either from getting stuck on the mushy bottom and drowning or by some of the big gators, but luckily we didn’t encounter any of them. After the ambulance took our temperature and we came back fine, they proceeded to make sure we were OK, then let us get on with our day. Life and death situations are no joke, and they can happen at any time. Make sure you are prepared mentally and physically; your life or your friends may depend on you and how you’ve trained.
Image credits: LordLogan27
#31I once crashed a hang glider. I was being towed up behind a pickup truck and got turned around. Imagine the hang glider as a kite and the truck being you as a kid yanking on the string to make the kite do loops; then imagine being the GI Joe doll you taped to the kite. A coupling called a 'weak link' attached the glider to the payout winch on the truck. It was supposed to break when a certain amount of strain was placed on it, preventing the scenario described previously. The link didn't break, so there I was about 250 feet up, being towed backward. I got out my hook knife to sever the line manually. I'm not quite sure if it broke on its own before I could saw through it, but the end result was that I was finally free, albeit rather stationary at a fairly low altitude. The only thing I could do was put the glider into a steep dive to get some airspeed and hope I could pull out in time to land safely. Almost worked too. I got enough airspeed not to die when I crashed into a nearby bean field. I almost broke my wrists and seriously sprained my thumbs (which is WAY more painful than it sounds and takes way longer to heal than you'd imagine). But that's OK because I had to work for a few months to pay for the repairs to my hang glider
Image credits: lendergle
#32I was in a plane crash when I was 6 years old. My father had relatively recently gotten his pilot license to fly single-engine planes. We were flying with a couple of my parents' friends from our home to Purdue University, a few states away, for our parents' homecoming weekend. As we were flying, we were making good time and apparently not using too much fuel. My father passed an airport at some point but decided not to refuel since we should have enough to make it to Indiana. Shortly after that, the headwind picked up, and we began to burn more fuel. The fuel was getting lower and lower as we neared our destination. Even though I was 6, I remember it very clearly when the engine cut out. Little four-seater planes are pretty loud, and it can be hard to talk to each other in them. When the engine cut out, it got very quiet, and you could just hear the wind going by outside. It was night, and my parents tried to remain very calm (partially for my sake). Still, I remember my father saying 'mayday' on the radio as he relayed our situation. We could see the airport lights in the distance, but we were dropping in altitude as we silently glided down. Mostly there were trees below us. Ahead, there seemed to be a big dark area that didn't seem to have trees in it, a hill up to the runway, and then the runway. It became clear that we were not going to make the runway as we got closer.
Luckily, we did clear the trees but crash-landed in the dark area before the hill (though again, the side of the hill would have been a bad thing to "land" into). As it turned out, the dark area was a reservoir that had been recently drained after being full for 20-plus years. Instead of water was about two feet of mud, and the plane kind of stuck into it when we hit. The landing gear was torn off, and the plane ended up nose forward in the mud. Surprisingly, the only injuries were a broken pinkie on my dad's friend, and my mom broke her nose on my back when we hit (I was sitting in her lap since there were five of us in a four-seater plane).
Since my father had already alerted emergency services on the radio, the fire department and ambulances were already there. They threw a rope down the hill and waded through the muck to come to get us. They then put us in an ambulance and took us to the hospital. I ended up spending the night so they could make sure that my back didn't get injured in the crash. But I was fine
Image credits: Brody_Satva
#33I was pilot-in-command of a small Cessna, taking my dad out for his first sightseeing ride on an October evening. He'd taken the backseat in one of my training sessions before, but this time was the first time the two of us were alone together and at liberty to go as we pleased.
After a while, I noticed that the engine had lost 300 RPM. I pushed the throttle to max... no change. Turned on the carb heat (if I remember correctly)... nope, still nothing. I began heading back to the airport, but as the power slowly diminished, I knew we wouldn't make it back by a long shot. Conclusion: I had to get that bird down somewhere.
It was night time. Beneath me were patches of fields or forest, and I couldn't tell which was which in the evening darkness. I opted for the only well-lit place in the circumstances: the freeway.
I made my emergency call, got a response, told my dad what I was about to do, and proceeded to fly the airplane. By the time I was on my so-called final approach, the engine was puttering along at a measly 1000 RPM despite a full-open throttle. All I had to do was to follow a slight bend in the freeway to the left, just past a viaduct, and I'd have three open lanes of road on which to land and probably surprise a few drivers along the way.
Huge black bars suddenly showed up in my field of vision, followed by bright white flashes of light. The aircraft had just struck high-voltage power lines.
By the time I was done screaming, the aircraft had rolled down in a side ditch and slammed itself against a fence.
Ambulances arrived within a minute, pulled my dad and I out, and raced us to the hospital. I awoke in a dimly-lit hospital room - dimly lit because of the city-wide power failure I'd just caused, which I realized once all the other lights turned on late at night and the nurses cheered at getting power back.
Somehow, I didn't break anything, though I had a sore and stiff body for a few weeks, and my back became prone to locking for the next several years. My father had a few broken bones, but was judged stable and set to recover. However, he suddenly and unexpectedly succumbed to his wounds a week later.
I haven't piloted an aircraft since, and have no desire to. I can be a passenger in an airliner or a commercial small aircraft without a problem, but my days of flying are over.
Image credits: Shurikane
#34I was in a smallish fishing boat charter that sank a little less than 12 miles from a Caribbean island in the Atlantic. From the first sign of trouble to looking straight dowen at the boat slowly sinking beneath the surface was only about 10 minutes time. Trust me when I say that's an image I'll never forget -- a white sport fisher being swallowed by the dark blue beneath me. When boats sink, they SINK.
Somewhere in the chaos the captain called his friends in the marina before the boat sank, so we waited there just drifting for a while, collecting any floating debris we could hang on to. Fortunately we had life vests otherwise I have no doubt we'd all be dead. 2 hours pass, nobody comes by to pick us up, clouds and rain are more frequent so we lose sight of the island occasionally, and I finally convince everyone to agree to start swimming towards the island -- I know the best thing to do is stay together and not move, but the island didn't seem too too far away, and it was obvious to me that nobody was going to find us at this point. Just as we start slowly moving a helicopter comes and hovers somewhere between us and the island, presumably over the coordinates the captain gave his friends. I swim my a*s off towards that thing and in so doing lose sight of the captain and first mate, so now it's just me and my sister...and then the helicopter leaves. That sucked. But, given the weather there was almost zero chance of them spotting us unless we were right under them.
We decide our best chance at survival is to keep swimming towards the island. The whole time it's rainy, cloudy, rough seas (there was a small craft advisory -- wish we had been told that before leaving the marina!), and much of the time (literally hours) we can't see the island AT ALL and use the wind as our directional guide... That sensation of not being able to see anything but grey skies and waves with nothing to grasp on to was the toughest part. We did see another helicopter before nightfall when the weather started clearing a bit, but it was way too far away from us. Nightfall is also when we can tell that we actually made progress and were getting closer to the island, but the darkness changes all that as all we could look at were a handful of lights on the island and a bright spot that was probably a resort ~7 or so miles to the north.
Fast forward to maybe 2 or 3am, some 15-16 hours after the boat sank, and we actually get to the island. Of course it's mostly cliffs, the water is colder (being churned from the deep by the currents hitting the island), so we swim South until we can see water that isn't white. We get out of the water maybe an hour later and can barely walk. There are some lights in the distance but no way we were gonna get to them in our condition, so we just tried to stay warm under some trees out of the rain. No sleep, just shivering and trying to stay warm.
Finally the sun comes up and we are able to stop shivering. We can walk somewhat better now, so we start drinking from a nearby stream -- assuming we'll get to help before we die from some parasite -- and start hiking over the hills. I tossed my lifevest into a tree just in case someone spots it. The hike takes us a few hours over two ridges and through some pretty thick brush. Fortunately there were a few more streams. We finally get to a makeshift farm of sorts and decide to eat some bananas from a small banana grove. That's when we spot a guy walking to work on the farm. He feeds us some crackers and water and walks up the road to call the police for us...
Based on where we got to land they changed their search and found the captain and first mate in the water shortly thereafter. We all end up in the hospital around the same time, and we finally got to escape the hospital after ~36 hours and several bags of IV fluids. There's a lot more that happened in that whole 72hour period, but you get the idea.
Funny thing - we went back about 8 months later and tried to get a boat to
Image credits: nevernottraveling
#35My plane landed in a field and flipped.
Flying in a single-engine Cessna 210, my family was on the final leg of a 2 week camping trip. My dad, piloting, had started the decent down when at 3,000 feet, our engine started rattling uncontrollably. 10 year old me remembers seeing the oil temperature gauge in the red, but not understanding the significance. As the rattling got worse, my dad shut the engine off and radioed Mayday to the tower. That's when I started to pray. We were only 5 ish miles from our final destination, but we had to make an emergency landing in a field.
I remember staring out the window at the ground thinking about my cat, and my mom leaning back from the co-pilot seat to tell my brother and I to pull our legs up for the crash position. My dad exchanged a few other words with the controller and then shut the rest of the plane down.
We hit the ground a little fast at 80 knots (normal is 65-70 kts). Our front gear struck an irrigation pipe running across the field which caused it to shear off. Without a front gear, our nose hit the field and we went belly-side up.
When I came to, everything was eerily dark, and I was hanging upside down. My dad basically ripped the doors off the back of the plane to get my brother and I out. My family was shaken up, but okay.
The farmer appeared minutes later, absolutely astonished. Then, five news helicopters starting circling. Traffic was backed up for miles around the field as people strained to get a look. Then the paramedics arrived. My mom likes to joke they were a bit disappointed to find 'victims of a plane crash' to be standing around chatting. The worst injury of the lot was my cut lip which I cut with my own teeth in the jolt of the crash. And my parents got some bruising from seat belts a few days later.
The farmer's wife gave my brother and I cheese-its and honey sticks and I can't eat them to this day. And the first thing I did when I got back home was hug my cat, as a ten year old does.
As far as my individual story goes, I got my pilot's license three years ago at the age of 18. I'm now in school to become an aerospace engineer where I hope to one day design planes that save people like this one saved my life. It failed in the most elegant of ways, and my dad's quick thinking and training was able to see us to the ground alive.
And for those wondering what happened to the plane, an unidentified object clogged the oil filter in the engine leading to a piston overheating, snapping, and punching a hole in the side of the engine
Image credits: iforgottoeatlunch
#36Speed boat capsized in the Mexican Ocean. In Aug 2012, five friends and I rented a penthouse and stayed in San Jose del Cabo for a month. On our second day there, we rented a speed boat (came with a driver) for our much anticipated wakeboarding excursion. The majority of the ride was fantastic... dolphins, etc. We has a blast.
We followed the shore line from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas. Mid point in out trip, we went to flip a U in a harbor close to the Holiday Inn... then, all Hell broke loose. At the apex of our turn, we lost power. This means... the front of our boat was facing the beach, the back was facing the Ocean. Now, if you're not familiar with the Mexican under current, it's FAST and the water deepens very quicky. The tide pulled us into the waves. With every surge, the water pushed the tail of the boat (where I was sitting) up, while tilting the nose down. As soon as I noticed that tilt, I knew impeding doom was coming. Surely enough, the next push of the water tilted the nose far enough down to be caught by the under current, thus, throwing me straight up in the air. At this point, the boat hadn't flipped yet. When the receding wave brought the boat back level, gravity returned me to my seat on the boat. I landed on my feet, but felt a shock up my back and an immediate, smashing warmth in my spine, then BAM! I fell forward in between the seats and COULDN'T FEEL A F**KING THING below my chest. Mean while, the boat is on the verge of being flipped vertically. My friend Kati jumps on top of me and holds on to the railing with all of her strength so I don't fly off or get dragged away. Another wave pounds... thiiis time water slams into the boat, smacking Kati in the back. The force of the water pounds her nose right into the back of my head, breaking her nose. When this happened, I think I blacked out for a sec. I'm a very strong swimmer, so when I finally felt the boat getting sucked out from under us I remember thinking I HAVE TO SWIM AS HARD AS I CAN OR I'M GOING TO DIE. So I did. A local surfer, Juan, (hope to thank this guy again someday) saw it all happen and swam out with his board and helped me to shore. There is a video out there taken by someone on that beach, but I've never been able to find it. My friend lost her wallet, I lost my reentry visa (a scumbag dude later tried to hustle me for $50 a new one for our return flight.) I lost my favorite dress in that damned accident, too. Sum'b***h. I spent the rest of the month and my budget for what would have been fishing, golfing, drinking, stuff, with my friends... on food, tequila, hour-long massages, and Mexican otc pain pills. The doctors there were fantastic. I had a t5-7 compression injury with bruising in my lumbar. He said I was extremely close to a serious SERIOUS injury. I still feel it 5 years later. I have PTSD from the accident, for sure... boats make my sweaty.
Image credits: amberlamps87
#37Back in 2008, I was in a hiking/sight seeing tour with a well known rugged travel outfitter. The tour started in New Delhi, India and ended in Kathmandu, Nepal. Halfway thru the tour, we meander our way to Varanasi when there were rumors of strikes in Nepal - mainly Lumbini and the Chitwan national park area. So instead of taking a bus to the border to get to the park in Nepal, we took a plane. Crisis averted right ?
Landed in Kathmandu, and of course the baggage handlers decided to strike, had to wait about 5 hours to get our bags ?
We stayed about a day at Kathmandu and about the strike ended. We ended up proceeding with our trip to the Chitwan national park and staying at a home stay for a few days.
After a few days of getting our fill of elephant riding, hippo watching and tiger tracking there were rumors going around in the village about a huge strike next day with travel on the roads potentially barred with the threat of death. We all decided to head out extremely early so we would not be stuck in Chitwan for potentially days. So around 3am, me and 11 other members of the group and our guide and driver head out into the dark and onto Kathmandu.
It was quiet for about the 15-20 minutes of driving in the dark, lots of meandering turns around small villages and lakes. However that was stopped short, we saw a small minibus torched, fires burning wildly and soon we were stopped by these masked villagers holding sticks. One of them came to the drivers side and pulled the driver out, proceeded to repeatedly smack him on his face over and over.
Another masked man tried to open our passenger door, luckily it could only be opened by one side, and luckily it was held tightly closed by a burly Australian member of our group. While this was going on, another masked man broke our back window, this resulted in a few of us crying in fear. Me, my cousin and a few other guys were thinking of breaking out of the car and tackling these masked men with skirts (longyis). We figured the combined arms of a few Americans, aussies and a German can take them down right ?
No sooner than we thought of that plan, motorcycles started roaring in close by, carrying moltov cocktails... s**t!! Our guide and the driver started pleading with them, saying we are tourists, there are women in here and that we will go back in peace, just let us go.. They eventually let us go, told us to turn around and don’t come out until the strike is over.
To this day, every time I hear glass break - I cringe and remember these events clearly
Image credits: tamzidC
#38I am from Syria, about 5 years ago when I was 9 I think, me and my brother were preparing to go to school. Then suddenly we hear a loud exlposion, all the glass in the windows shattered and the doors leading to the balcony were locked so the locks broke and the doors slammed open. After that we heard a lot of shooting. I wouldn't stop screamimg so my mom covered my mouth to shut me up and we all hid in a room that had no windows so it would be safer and waited for things to calm down. We got a lot of calls meanwhile from people who found out that the bombing was so close to us and were concerned. I don't recall how long it took for things to calm down but when it finally did we found it that it was a suicide bombing very close to where we live. Roughly 4 years ago I was lucky enough to immigrate to Sweden, very nice country with nice people
Image credits: LemonBarf
#39So when I was a very young child, I lived in South East Asia. One day early in the morning I was just playing, my parents must have been doing their morning prayers and the next thing I knew the entirety of the ocean was spilling over itself. We lived on the coast at this time and it was like the whole ocean had just lifted out. My dad grabbed me and ran towards a block of apartments at the end of the street. I don't know what happened to my mum but she must have been unable to run fast enough because I'm pretty sure she got overwhelmed by the tide and survived by holding on to a tree. I'm not entirely sure how she survived actually, because looking back on the extent of the 2004 tsunami she should have been swept away completely by the force of the water.
So now I'm on the top of this roof and my dad goes back in, swimming to our house to retrieve our passports and documents, while the water keeps creeping up. I think it was a 4 or 5 storey building and the water must have reached the second or 3rd floor. He must have been a really strong swimmer because he got pretty much all of our documents in between the waves (and probably saved my mum as well???)
After this we were able to stay with friends some distance away after this, but everything in the town got destroyed. In fact I realised the reason why my parents don't bring up my childhood friends or try to keep in contact with their families is because they're dead. This is pretty much the only really vivid memory I have from that age, and my parents still kind of had a fear of the sea for a long time after that (they still can't handle videos of flooding)
Image credits: punking_funk
#40When I was 7, my father had decided, being the adventurous Arabian immigrant he was, that his children were manifestations of their Irish mother. Funnily enough, he took time off of work to take camping in a town miles away from our home in Boston, and I mean miles. This had been the first time I had spent without my mum, looking back I think my anxiety began here.
A boat shed was closing up in less than an hour when my father suggested that my brothers, 9 and 5 at the time, should attest to the fact that we were cowardice. Fast forward an hour and we were sinking at a pace faster than I could fathom. I hyperventilated or whatever it is when you faint at sea and nearly drowned if it wasn’t for my dad (I wouldn’t of been in the situation without him...) The sea patrol promptly picked up on a hairy middle aged man and his three boys sinking and picked us up.
Now that I think of it, we could of made a drama out of what had happened.
My dad took of his shirt and did some Bear Grylles manoeuvre to keep my head afloat.
Mission failed, my life is spent inside 24/7, my kids will be too.
#41The boat didnt sink, but were on a trip to bermuda. We had a great time, but on the way home, maybe a mile from the coast, the ship's "auto pilot" or whatever it is broke so we hit a coral reef.
We were stuck for maybe a day and a half. When we hit the reef we were eating dinner in front of a huge glass window. It felt like we flipped over if you looked out.
The other cruise ships had to stay as well because we were considered in distress. And to top it off, i have panic disorder so s**t like that really fucks my brain up.
#42I'm from Australia, which may preface the actions of my entire neighbourhood (this was a long time ago). We had a bushfire start in the national park that backed onto my suburb. My house in next to the evacuation point for my suburb (I don't think most people even realise that's it's purpose).
Anyway the fire hits the back line of houses, figuring that evacuation may be necessary we walk out to the evac point. Only nobody is there, everyone is out of their houses walking towards where about 12 houses are actively burning to the ground. I was 8 or 9 at the time, I tell my mum that I am gunna go watch the fire, so I grab a shirt tie it around my face and follow the crowd.
There were 4 fire trucks and a bunch of fire fighters scrambling with hoses, I think there were even helicopters. Some people were outside their houses crying. I remember thinking it was really cool not realising the danger at that age.
I remember the after effects, my eyes stung, my throat hurt, I coughed and coughed for weeks. A lot of people including me got really sick afterwards, a few of the older residents died in the next few months. The trees were black with burn marks for years, it was so surreal.
#43Probably isn't anything near as serious as a bunch of these scenarios I've read, but this did scare me when I was younger. I was probably 8 yrs old and went camping with my family and brought 2 of my buddies along. We went on this camp tour to an old gold mine with my mom and a bad storm was brewing. The rain started to come down hard, winds picked up and extremely loud thunder. Sky was lighting up with lightning, but fortunately, we were in the entrance of the mine, so we were totally safe.
However, my mother decided to have a panic attack (she's claustrophobic) and couldn't stay in the very tight mine area anymore. So she took us out and brought us into this super intense thunder/lightning storm. Now, it's pretty much an open field from the mine to where the cars were parked (My dad waiting in the car, as my dog wasn't allowed to come with us.). So we started all running. We ran for about 15-20 minutes before reaching my dad in the parking lot.
That run though, was scary as s**t. We were the tallest objects in that field except for 1 tree. I thought for sure we were going to get hit by lightning.
My dad got super upset with my mom for bringing 4 kids outside and exposed to that. As a kid, I didn't realize the danger we were in, but the threat to get hit by lightning was definitely there, despite how rare it is to get hit by it.
#44I was learning to fly. I had to take a break because the birth of a child.
I came back 6 months later with only a few hours solo under my belt. I went from being able to consistently put my nose gear on the stripe to barely being able to keep it on the runway.
The last time I flew I got into uncontrolled bounces off the the runway. I had to full throttle it up and out in an aborted landing.
I barely missed runway lights and almost laid a wing onto the runway.
That was the last time I flew. Little girl at home mattered more.
#45Our bush plane crashed, no injuries or anything. The engine replacement on that remote lake wasn't fun tho.
#46My grandmother was on a smallish sailboat with her husband (captain Andy) and another couple out in the Alaskan waters 70ish years ago. They used paper maps to navigate and apparently there was something under the water surface that was worn away in one of the creases of the map. They hit it and the boat sank. Luckily the coast guard or someone was able to save them before the boat was gone and they drown/froze.
She tells this story like I would talk about going to the grocery store.
My grandfather had similar wild stories from his youth that he would tell extremely nonchalantly, but about situations I would absolutely die in
#47https://youtu.be/kb9BIj71zvg I was on this crash. Left with a banged knee, f**ked up shoulder, and a knot on my head but thankfully that was all. And thankfully no one died. There was blood and pain though. And some ppl got really injured. Not like a terrible terrible 9/11 moment of course but a train accident nonetheless.
Although I do wonder if my cognitive issues which began sprouting around that time had anything to do with hitting my head on the transfer machine inside....
#48I don’t really remember this, because I was so young, so to me this is just a funny family story.
When I was a kid we lived in Chicago and owned a trimaran, a sailboat with three hulls. Some trimarans are goofy looking or really small, but ours looked a lot like this, a perfectly ordinary sailboat with two smaller sailboats attached to the sides. We used to go out sailing on Lake Michigan.
Between Ohio Street Beach, on the north side of Navy Pier, and Oak Street Beach about a half a mile north, the shore of the lake is a concrete lip. There’s a breakwater to reduce wave height, and wakes are illegal. A lot of boats drop anchor there so people can swim.
We were approaching the area when we were hit by a motorboat. The collision broke off the struts connecting one of the outer hills to the main body of the ship. Unbalanced, the ship immediately began to roll over.
Fortunately my parents were sticklers for lifejackets. Onboard were me (5), my sister (3), my parents (34 and 33). My father grabbed the broken off hull to try and keep the boat together. My mother picked me and my sister up and ++tossed++ us overboard, as far as she could throw us, then jumped in after us. She held onto us to prevent us from drifting away.
Lifeguards from Oak Street Beach rowed our to get us. The Coast Guard came and towed the boat to the beach.
Our next boat was a single hull.
#49In high school I was on a charter bus coming home from a marching band competition. We were in rural Idaho going down the highway at about 75 MPH. The bus driver apparently had severe stomach pain but didn’t say anything and eventually passed out from the pain. I was on the back of the bus sitting in the isle with my back against the bathroom. My girlfriend was sitting next to me and we were watching a movie with a laptop in the seat.
In couldn’t see out the window because I was in the floor but I remember it started getting bumpy like we were pulling off the road when I heard a girl scream “WE ARE CRASHING” and like 0.5 seconds after that registers my face smacks the ceiling of the bus. I was knocked out but remember waking up as the bus was rolling down the highway and I remember thinking it looked like I was in a giant washing machine and people bodies were clothes being tossed around and around and around and then everything went black again.
I woke to my girlfriend screaming to get off her. I was laying on broken windows as the bus stopped rolling on its side. I stand up and see the seats up in the air And remember thinking “something is not right here.” As my mind pulled everything together into the reality of the f***ing bus just crashed I look over and my friend is covered in blood screaming “IM BLEEDING!!!” I look down at my shirt and it’s covered in blood. Nothing in my body hurt so I started to panic that i was covered in blood that’s not mine. I see another friend of mine tangled in the bus seats above me and I help her down. The roof of the bus crushed in and another friend of mine had her legs pinned underneath. I tried to lift the bus off her and in my adrenaline filled mind it seemed logical and started getting pissed that the bus wouldn’t budge. I remember her being very calm and saying “dude you can’t lift it, we will have to wait for the firemen to lift it off. At that point I decided to I should get out of the bus. Well, those little tiny holes on the roof of the bus are not so easy to get through and I remember getting stuck and people have to shove me out, haha.
Anyways, we were super lucky because only 1/50 people on the bus died. Once I got to the hospital and the adrenaline started to die down I realized my injuries which were I had bit through my tongue and had a bruise that looked like a huge blood blister from a*s to my knee out in the perfect shape of a bus seat arm rest. I’m 24 now and can drive without issues. The only exception is on the freeway when I’m next to a Semi truck. I start to panic that it’s going to rollover and kill me. Luckily, my wife has caught on and will speed pass the evil semi trucks for me.
#50Not necessarily a plane crash, but I was on a plane that had to do a belly landing.
I was around eight or so and was flying solo - there was someone from the crew with me at all times and they were great.
We were coming into our approach when the smell of burning rubber flooded the plane - then a thick black smoke.
The strange thing is I don’t remember people panicking. I only remember the pilot coming on and saying that one of the wheels wasn’t lowering, we didn’t have enough fuel to circle any longer (I guess we had been circling for a while), and then something to the likes of, “we will proceed with an emergency landing and will be on the ground shortly and safely.”
Then we landed. I don’t remember it being rough or out of control - we just landed, but it was loud.
Then we got to jump down the slide - which was awesome