YouTube has given us a lot of things: vlogs, Fred, one billion parody videos of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" starring adorable kittens instead of saucy black ladies. And now, finally, it's given us something to make up for all of that horrible, horrible bullshit: The ability to watch people nearly die from the safety of our own Cheeto-stained ergonomic office chairs. I'm not talking about hillbilly fireworks accidents or teenage skateboard shenanigans, either; I'm talking about very real, extremely terrifying and possibly bowel-exploding, first-person POV accounts that chronicle what it's really like to survive the scariest disasters possible. You can experience all of it -- the thrills, the adventure, the adrenalin -- and you don't even have to put on pants! In fact, you probably shouldn't (See: Bowel Explosion, above.)


Skiing is a shorthand term for the act of daring God to neuter you. It consists of strapping two unconnected sticks to your legs, then falling down a mountain while trying not to do the splits. It takes balls to do that, if only because you've got to have some to lose on the way down. But for those who have grown truly jaded with the sport, there is Extreme Skiing. There are no established courses, no snow patrol to rescue you -- just the sheer cliffside and two pieces of wood that you've strapped to your feet for some godforsaken reason.

If you're unlucky on your run, you might crash and end up cartwheeling for a few miles until inertia gets tired of messing with you. If you're really unlucky, you might skip across some rocks on the way. If the very concept of karma has sworn a blood vendetta against you, you might get caught up in an avalanche, be crushed by thousands of tons of snow and then buried alive to die slowly from suffocation. Luckily this guy was just
kind of a bastard in a past life, so he miraculously survived this ordeal despite being completely buried for four and a half minutes. The audio cuts out on his helmet cam when the avalanche catches him, which is why you only hear unintelligible, high-pitched squealing after the fall (that's his story, and he's sticking to it).

The Exact Second They Knew They Were Fucked:

6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video

"This is intense! I'm doing it, I'm really doing it! Man, you were right, Dave! This really gets the old blood going an- Hey, real quick: Mountains
are supposed to crack, right?"

Missile Attack

6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video

According to CNN, there are two types of places in this world: America and war-torn hellholes where people eat rocks every day and "missile attack" is a type of weather pattern. And about
eight seconds into this video, you realize this ain't America. The videographer is Shlomo Wollins, of, and for the record, he did survive this attack (though tragically, he lost the ability to share embed codes for his videos from that day on). The video was taken during an Israeli backyard barbecue that was cut short on account of hurtling death from the sky, as is wont to happen, when Wollins stepped out of his house to report on what he unfortunately thought was the aftermath of the attack. Tragically, that lull wasn't the end; it was just halftime in the Missile Bowl.

The Exact Second They Knew They Were Fucked:

6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video

"Welp, that's it. It's over, everybody! One missile a day, that's how Hamas operates! Besides, those stupid Palestinians couldn't hit an elephant at this dista-"


Somehow, it is a hiking video that most perfectly illustrates the oldest horror movie cliche in the book: "Never assume that it's dead, because it always comes back for one final scare." We join the video with the cameraman watching his presumed girlfriend as she descends a steep, rock-strewn slope. Why is he filming this otherwise unremarkable moment? Maybe it's because they're going on an adventure together, maybe it's because they want a memento to remember their trip by, but it's probably because she's backing down toward him ass-first and he is but a man, with all of man's weaknesses.

Suddenly, the girl stumbles and comes flailing down the mountain. Before either of them can react, it's already over: She's been stopped by a boulder. Everything's OK. It's aaaall OK now. Then, before she can finish the sentence "That was scary as fuck," half the goddamn mountain comes loose and charges the cameraman like he littered on the way up while yelling, "What's the Earth gonna do? Sit quietly and take it like a little bitch, that's what!"

The Exact Second They Knew They Were Fucked:

6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video

"Yeah, that was scary, honey, but you're OK. It's OK, and I'm right here. And hey, you think you're down for a quick fear-hump? No? That's cool I guesSHITBISCUITS I REGRET EVERYTHING."

Rogue Wave

The term "rogue wave" either refers to a random monster wave that is dramatically larger than all others around it, or else to a pseudo-hippy band who've got a few catchy tunes but are totally ruined by their fans who only want to get high and talk to you about composting. This particular video refers to the former, as the latter is extremely unlikely to kill you (unless you're fatally allergic to good vibes). Nobody has yet pinned down why rogue waves happen, in part because they're extremely infrequent. It's rare to catch one on film, but it does happen. It's even rarer to catch one on film while impacting a ship, but that also happens. It is rarest of all to catch one on film while impacting a ship as the cameraman straddles the safety railing in the midst of a roiling storm, staring slack-jawed into the churning maw of the impact point. But thanks to what I'm assuming is a combination of mercury poisoning and debilitating brain damage, that apparently happens too.

The Exact Second They Knew They Were Fucked:

6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video

I don't think he ever did: "Man, that huge white mass of water that's been swelling and building for the last 30 seconds and is now finally descending on my ship with all the immovable fury of nature sure does look scary. Wonder if I should go inside? Let's weigh the pros and cons of that course of action first ..."


Tornado chasers are everywhere lately, and it's not hard to see why: It makes for compelling, valuable video, and all it requires is that you have a truck, know how to work a camera, and don't truly appreciate the value of human life. Hell, save for the camera part, that's like 90 percent of the Southwest. But even tornado chasers usually have the good sense to stop a mile or so away to gawk and hoot at the horrible disaster unfolding in front of them.

Not this unfortunate fellow.

If you've watched the video, you're already well aware of the hilarious mental breakdown on display here. This man's mind obviously fled in terror the very second the terrain learned how to fly. But what else could he do? When faced with a situation like this, you're really only left with two options: Either you soil yourself, accept your fate and politely die, or you consciously decide to go a very specific type of insane, strip down to your briefs, grab a carpenter's hammer and stand right in the middle of that goddamn twister like a Texan Thor while screaming basic locative statements at the top of your lungs for as long as you still have them.

The Exact Second They Knew They Were Fucked:

6 Near Death Experiences Caught on Video

"Howard, if perchance I do not survive these savage circumstances, do inform my loving wife that my last thoughts on this Earth were of her, and that one beauteous spring we spent in the Cotswolds, admiring the verdant leaves of I AM IN THE TORNADO I AM IN THE TORNADO I AM IN THE TORNADO I AM IN THE TORNADO."

Forest Fire

These fine gentlemen, looking like the cast of the Eastern European version of
Sex Drive, have decided to motor right into a raging forest fire. Why on Earth would you do that? Why not just back up and take a different route? Because this is Russia, comrade. There's only one road to start with, and besides, it's going to take more than some pussy inferno to jam Russian traffic, yes?!

But even Russian bravado has its limits. About a minute in -- after they've wandered off the road into the heart of the blaze, gotten lost in the smoke and then boxed in by other cars that are inexplicably doing the exact same thing (yes, there is traffic
inside the fire) -- there is a moment where they all go quiet, and you can see that they've accepted death into their hearts. Suddenly, there's a break! They're back on the road! They're moving out and away, with the sky around them growing lighter by the second, like they're driving that Lada Riva out of the mouth of hell and straight into heaven.

The Exact Second They Knew They Were Fucked:


"Really, Vasily? We are trapped in raging inferno, being cooked to death in cars, the world outside has turned to fire and ash, and the last thing I see is your pockmarked face?
Really?! I will buy you some Proactiv in hell, Vasily."

You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook or you can treasure every moment of your life with a newfound appreciation of its fragility. But that sounds hard. You should probably just buy the book!

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