Survival stories are big news ... if being featured on a morning talk show qualifies as "big news." But sometimes the circumstances are seemingly so impossible that they skip right over Good Morning America and launch themselves straight into Looney Tunes territory. Take, for example, the time when ...
#5. A Baby Survived a Six-Story Fall -- Right into a Doctor's Arms
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Babies can barely defend themselves against a cushy blanket during a vigorous game of peek-a-boo, let alone the forces of gravity. So if we told you that an 18-month-old baby survived a six-story fall from the window of his apartment building unscathed, you'd probably be somewhat dubious. And if we then elaborated by telling you that he survived said fall thanks to a well-timed bounce off of the awning of a cafe below, you could be forgiven for thinking that we just sprouted a face-mounted horseshit cannon. And if we further explained that the child also landed smack dab in the arms of a random passerby who just so happened to be a doctor? Well ... we don't know what would happen. People usually walk away from us long before we get to that part.
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Which means they always miss the part where the baby turns out to be a full-grown grizzly bear.
But it's all true: It happened to a particularly rubberlike youngster in Paris who flopped right into the arms of Dr. Philippe Bensignor as he strode past the closed cafe at precisely the right time. And just to put the icing on the ol' bullshit cake, the awning that broke his fall was only open that day because its closing apparatus had broken.
According to witnesses in a neighboring building, the miniature daredevil was playing near the window with his older sister moments before he fell from his apartment. Doctor/Accidental Hero Bensignor was casually strolling by with his wife and child just seconds before the incident and confessed that it was pure luck that he was able to intervene. "I was there at the right time," he said. "My son saw a little boy on a balcony. He had gone right outside the railing ... I said to myself I mustn't miss him."
We picture this being preceded by a training montage of a Mr. Miyagi character dropping watermelons from 10 stories.
Obviously the bouncing baby boy was a little shaken by the experience mentally, but physically he was good as new after a quick blow on his thumb to reinflate him.
Still, six stories is child's play (God, we're so sorry) compared to this next one ...
#4. A Man Fell Two Miles (and Recorded Every Second of It)
After seven years, countless jumps, and the prestige of being the youngest person in the U.K. to qualify as a skydiving instructor, it's safe to say that Michael Holmes had pretty much nailed this "falling out of a plane" business. But a single 14,000-foot, 100 mph free fall with a gimpy parachute is enough to make even the most seasoned skydiver shit his flapping skypants, same as the rest of us.
It was a routine jump (or at least as "routine" as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane can be) until Holmes released his main chute, only to watch it wrap around itself and become tangled. And even though his experience and training kicked in immediately, the chute had already hit the fan (we're less sorry for that one), and the reserve couldn't deploy. The most amazing part? Holmes captured the entire horrifying incident via his helmet cam:
You can really feel the fear and desperation he was experiencing during his short and inevitable journey to Squishville (Population: Not Your Bones). Knowing that the end was near, Holmes used his few remaining seconds on this Earth (or above it, if you want to get technical) to wax philosophical on the nature of the universe, brilliantly summarizing the hopelessness of the human situation in a heartfelt, five-word requiem: "Oh, fuck! I'm dead. Bye."
Luckily, he resisted the urge to confess all his darkest sexual fantasies.
Astoundingly, Holmes landed with much less of a splatting noise than either he or his jumping partner was expecting. Rather than spreading all over the landscape in a thin layer of Michael jam, Holmes survived the fall with a mere broken ankle and a collapsed lung -- all thanks to a lowly blackberry bush. That's right: He fell two straight miles, landed in a bush, and walked away from it (metaphorically speaking) mostly fine -- save for (presumably) some of those scratch marks that look like pound symbols on his cheeks.
#3. A Man Got Yanked Through a Hole the Size of a CD Case
Depending on your perspective, 5 inches can be a perfectly average and acceptable collection of inches, thank you very much -- or it can be a horribly inadequate source of despair (stop laughing, Becky).
Back in December of 2008, a 25-year-old factory worker from Barnsley, England, discovered the latter firsthand by somehow surviving being pulled through a gap the size of a goddamn CD case.
While many of us can't fit into our sweatpants without the aid of Crisco and a running start.
Matthew Lowe was processing steel beams with a machine presumably made by ACME when his clothing got snagged on its conveyor belt. Unable to free himself and totally powerless to prevent the inevitable, he stopped resisting and surrendered completely to the situation. "I knew what was going to happen so I just relaxed and hoped for the best," Lowe recalls. His entire body (except for his head, which luckily slipped through a bigger gap) was dragged through the 5-inch opening before the machine unceremoniously spat him out the other side. Unfortunately, humans don't share many attributes with Play-Doh, and after being extruded through the machine like a wad of fleshy clay, Lowe emerged with a broken back, hips, pelvis, and ribs, with a ruptured stomach and bowels just for good measure.
Still in shock, it took several seconds for the pain to set in. Once it did, though, the time it took for Lowe's blood-curdling screams to alert his fellow co-workers can only be measured in Planck units. Miraculously, thanks to six surgeries and Lowe's apparent Wile E. Coyote-like ability to snap back from ridiculously massive injury, the only signs that he was ever hurt at all now are a somewhat weakened right arm ...
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You can't finger bang for that long and not expect some nerve damage.
... and a refurbished metal skeletal frame that basically turned him into a ridiculously fragile version of Wolverine. We suppose that's worth mentioning, too.