AFTER being almost drowned in a train accident, nearly burnt alive in a car explosion and thrown out of an aircraft, it was about time Frane Selak’s luck changed.
Yesterday, the man widely acknowledged to be Croatia’s, if not the world’s, unluckiest was celebrating a 600,000 win in the nation’s lottery.
Mr Selak, 74, a former music teacher, first realised "demons" were after him in 1962, when the train he was travelling on from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik jumped the rails and plunged into an icy river. Seventeen people drowned and he barely made it to the bank, suffering from hypothermia.
Accident number two came a year later, when he was thrown into mid-air from a plane just before it crashed, landing in a haystack. Three years later, a bus he was on lurched into a river, killing four people. Mr Selak managed to swim to safety. "By this time my friends had stopped visiting me," he said.
In 1970, his car caught fire as he drove along a motorway, but he managed to get out before the fuel tank exploded. Three years later, he was driving another car when it caught fire.
Eight years ago, he was knocked down by a bus in Zagreb but sustained only minor injuries. The following year, in his final brush with death, he managed to leap out of his car as it hurtled downhill following a near miss with a United Nations lorry.
But on Monday, two days after his birthday, came news he had won the lottery. Now the four-times married pensioner is buying a house, a car and a speedboat, and is planning to marry his girlfriend. "I feel my life is just beginning," he said.