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    July 23

  • 04:58 AM

Lucky man gives away fortune

Added 22 May 2010

PETRINJA, Croatia – A music teacher, Frano Selak, who was dubbed the world’s luckiest man after cheating death seven times before winning the lottery, has now decided to give away his fortune.The 81-year-old won £600 000 (BDS$1 683 650) five years ago in the lottery in Croatia to celebrate his fifth marriage, after earlier surviving plane  and train crashes.He also survived other disasters including landing on a haystack after falling out a plane door that had blown open.Now the pensioner has decided that “money cannot buy happiness” and has decided to live  a frugal life.He has sold his luxury home on a private island, given away his fortune to family and friends and moved back to his modest home in Petrinja, which is south of Zagreb, in the centre of the country.He kept the last bit  of his winnings for a hip replacement operation so he could enjoy life with his wife, and also so he could build a shrine to the Virgin Mary to give thanks for his luck.Selak said he has never been happier.“All I need at my age  is my Katarina. Money would not change anything,” he said. “When she arrived, I knew then that I really did have a charmed, blessed life.“I never thought I was lucky to survive all my brushes with death. I thought I was unlucky  to be in them in the first place,” he said.Selak had his first escape in 1962 when a 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 riverbank after suffering from hypothermia, shock, bruises and a broken arm.A year later, he was thrown out of a plane on his first and only flight when a door flew open. This time 19 people died, but he was thrown clear  of the crash and landed  in a haystack.Then in 1966, a bus  he was on skidded into  a river, drowning four.  He swam to safety with just cuts and bruises.Accident number four came four years later in 1970 when his car caught fire as he drove along a motorway. He fled with seconds to spare before the fuel tank exploded.Three years later, he lost most of his hair when a faulty fuel pump spewed petrol over the hot engine of his car and blew flames through the air vents.Then in 1995 came his sixth accident when he was knocked down by a bus in Zagreb but walked away with minor injuries.The following year,  he was driving in the mountains when he turned a corner to see a United Nations truck coming straight for him.His Skoda careened through a crash barrier and over the 300 foot precipice. But he leapt clear at the last minute and sat in a tree as he watched his car hit the bottom and explode.He then won £600 000 with his first ever lottery ticket and celebrated his fifth marriage saying:  “I guess all the earlier marriages were disasters too.” (Daily Telegraph)

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