25 People Who Came Close To Death Tell Their Terrifying Story

These Ask Reddit users describe the closest they’ve ever came to death — and it will make you thankful for every breath.
Unsplash / Jacob Walti

1. I fell off a cliff and snapped both my legs

“Fell off a cliff and had my spine break and both my legs snap, had multiple surgeries and almost had my leg amputated a couple years later. Tip for future people in wheelchairs, don’t get the automatic one, it’ll make you weak and will slow your process to recovery. Suffer through the type you have to push your self. Only reason I’m able to walk today.” — Canadiancurtiebirdy

2. We were almost decapitated during a car crash

“Car accident. SO and I were driving home from the airport, and some guy pulls out, illegally, from a light. We were in a sports car, going about 50 on a back road. He was driving a flatbed tow truck. We laid down some serious rubber, and all I could thing was, let us hit the tires. We hit the back end, it ripped the car to pieces, but we walked. Cop who responded told us that if we had been five feet left, we would have been decapitated. I rather knew that. Be safe drivers.” — calcaneus

3. I was trapped inside of a car filled with water

“After driving onto a flooded section of rural highway at night and flipping over into the ditch, I suddenly found myself upside down, under water, strapped in, in pitch blackness. Oh and the window broke so the car immediately filled up with water.” — Schmigneous

4. I dropped off of a mountain 1,000 meters high

“When I was down climbing a steep path on a mountain, 1000 meter drop below me. The handhold I had stopped being a hold, and became a lose piece of rock in my hand. Logically, this meant I dropped of the mountain. Imagine this nearly straight cliff, almost no vegetation, except for 1 tree about a meter below where I dropped. Was weird.” — SadedOr

5. I was almost kidnapped by a pedophile

“As a child, a man in a van once approached me and asked me to get in, so I could help him find his lost puppy. I was pretty concerned, as a fan of puppies, so I thought it seemed appropriate. Just as I was weighing whether or not my parents would be proud of me for helping out my fellow man, my mother (who apparently kept a vigilant eye on me from the window as I played outside) came charging out, and the guy in the van sped off. That’s when I got my worst: “Don’t get into vans with strangers, idiot” speech ever. I figured he wasn’t just any old stranger, but a man with a lost dog. I just thought my mom was being mean, and unfair. And I’m sure the pedophile did as well. I don’t know for sure whether or not he would have killed me or anything, but I know that if my mom hadn’t been such a worry wort, at least a part of me would have died that day.” — Na_01

6. My father shot me and left me blind

“When I was eight, my father shot me in my sleep at point blank range. He then shot my brother and committed suicide. I was the only one to survive and I was left blind.” — Nighthawk321

7. A truck stopped short from hitting the bus I was in

“On my way home from the airport in a bus and a truck came careening down a merging lane just barely stopping by hitting the brakes. I could’ve touched the driver if there’d been no glass in the way. He looked just as scared as I felt. Every moment after that has been a bonus moment. I think he must’ve been distracted somehow and didn’t notice the bus until the very last moment to stop the truck. Right on my side of the bus at my window too.” — NettleGnome

8. Placental abruption nearly killed me and my son

“I was pregnant with our son at about 14 weeks, and started to bleed. The doctor on call told me I was having a miscarriage and to let it get on with it — there was nothing that could be done. I accepted that with grief, but we had two small girls, and I went on for a day, spotting blood. Then randomly, I stood up and blood gushed down my legs, and filled my shoes. I called my husband home in a panic and he rushed me to the hospital. My placenta had partially torn loose from the uterine wall, and all the blood that should have gone to the body was pouring out. There is no surgical way to fix this and most of the time the babies and even the mothers die. I was told that the only chance was for me to lay still and hope it healed back. I laid on a mattress in my living room for 4 months until everything seemed safe. The baby came out fat and healthy and just graduated college these many years later. But I was one of a small percentage that survived.” — Borderweaver

9. I almost drowned surrounded by a crowd of people

“When I was a kid one of my ‘friends’ dragged me into the deep end of the pool and left me there even though they knew I couldn’t swim. Bear in mind they had to peel my fingers off the edge of the pool to do so and all the while I was screaming for them to stop. Inhaled a lot of water before someone else came to help me. Lifeguards didn’t notice anything and the pool was large and full of shrieking children so my screams for help went unnoticed.

I never realized until then how easy it would be to drown surrounded by other people.” — undernessus

10. A chandelier collapsed and almost crushed me

“When I was 8 years old, a chandelier almost fell on top of me in my living room. I was watching a movie (lilo and stitch) when I heard a crack, looked up, and the huge chandelier was about to fall on top of me. I rolled off the couch and it barely missed me. I still had tons of cuts from all the glass though; just not a direct hit.” — phobee144

11. I was held at gunpoint

“I was held up at gunpoint, made me get out of my car, felt me up and down took my phone, wallet, keys and car and left me in the middle of the street. Luckily they only wanted assets and not to kill me.” — TheNoveltyAccountant

12. I was hit by a car going 30 miles per hour

“I was hit by a car as a pedestrian while it was going about 50km/h (30 mph). At that speed the paramedics said I had about a 50% chance of dying. I just remember flying through the air and accepting that, this was when I was going to die. Fortunately I just had some permanent knee damage and some road rash.” — MelissaMcSpice

13. Someone threw a pitchfork at me

“Friend threw a pitchfork at me at 1 in the morning. Needless to say, I don’t talk to him anymore.” — genno334

14. Our car rolled down a hill with me stuck inside of it

“So I grew up on a farm on the Welsh/English border (so lots of hills). When I was 7 I went with my dad in the car up one of the fields because he was fixing the fence at the top of the hill. He left me in the car in the backseat whilst he went to work. In my boredom I decided to climb to the front of the car, in doing so I stepped on the handbrake and the car started to roll down the hill and pick up speed.

So as this happened I panicked and had no idea what to do, I’m not a religious person but in that moment I just remember being calm and praying to be alright as the car headed for a whole load of trees at the end of the field. Then I looked to the right and saw my dad sprinting alongside working his way to the front of the car, he jumped in and slammed on the breaks and managed to control it to a stop. This was promptly followed by ‘Don’t tell Mum about this.'” — captmonkeyman

15. I fell through ice and struggled in the water

“I broke trough the ice of a pond when I was 5 years old. I managed to get back out by myself. I was there with a friend, who was also 5 years old, so I don’t think he could have done anything when I would’ve drowned… It was a pond in our neighborhood and we weren’t supposed to be there alone. After I was out, I only thought about how to hide that from my mother — which didn’t work because my clothes were wet. But she wasn’t even mad, I think she just was happy that I lived.” — samzi87 

16. I stopped myself from committing suicide

“8 weeks ago, I sat on the edge of a highway bridge, 10m above concrete, deciding if I would let myself fall forward or not…

I rocked back and forth for about an hour and a half until I decided that I would swallow it all for a while longer. Got back down and went home…” — Chemistry_Jeppie

17. A wild animal tried to eat me alive

“Almost became a mountain lion feast. When I was 8, my brothers and I were playing at forest edge on our rural property in British Columbia. In a split second…too fast to know what happened, a cougar grabbed me from behind . My two older brothers immediately ran at it the cat let go.

All I remember is being dragged on the ground then not much of anything after that. I was told the doctor cleaned up some surface wounds and gave me a tetanus shot. The good side was dad went brought two big ‘mutts’ home after the incident and they were my best friends until I went off to college.” — Roxytumbler

18. I watched someone shoot a gun off

“Saturday? Canada Day, some guy started shooting at someone less than 100ft away from me.” — IxuntouchblexI

19. I almost electrocuted myself in the bath

“One cold Winter night (central heating was out) I was alone in the house, I decided to have a warm bath before going to bed.

Once the hot suddy bath was full I undressed, keeping on a T-shirt until the last minute I stepped in; Raising my arms above my head to take off my T-shirt I accidentally smashed the light fitting.

I froze, because at that moment I was standing barefoot in the pitch black, in water up to my shins, surrounded by shards of broken glass, and with a live 240V cable somewhere near my hands.” — CygnusRex

20. I nearly choked to death in a restaurant

“Was eating somewhere, a tiny bit of salad went just where to esophagus and the trachea are separated, covering it and I couldn’t breathe for I don’t know how much time. I became purple in color, people around didn’t know what to do, till I luckily managed to spit it out somehow. Was beginning to pass out, I was scared shitless.” — gojiralis

21. I rode inside of an airplane that was falling apart

“Probably that time I rode in an airplane with no seat belts and duck tape holding the windows together.” — ArdentPursuit

22. I was hospitalized with a pulmonary infection

“Last year I was hospitalized with a bad pulmonary infection. I had 800ml of fluid on EACH lung, plus more around my heart. Lungs were completely collapsed, acute cardiac tamponade. The team took one look at the scan and immediately one of the younger nurses muttered to the doctor: ‘How is her heart still beating???’ And the doctor just shook his head and gave him ‘I don’t know’ eyes. I’m all good now (knock on wood) but that was a pretty scary thing to hear…” — CatherineConstance

23. I experienced a heart failure

“I had been feeling ill and shaky for around 2 months prior. Went to bed one night feeling rough. Woke up in the hospital 2 weeks later, no memories of the incident whatsoever. Apparently I had a total heart failure, thing just stopped beating completely. I’m fine now though, at the age of 26, a lifetime of medication and a pacemaker. Just have to take it easy.” — Pentafractis

24. I almost drowned after having waves slammed into my face

“Got held down by a huge wipeout surfing in Ventura, CA, then after thinking I could make the surface, I exhaled the rest of my air, and as I surfaced, another wave slammed into my face, spinning me over and over until I started to black out. When I finally reached the shore, I was shaken for awhile.” — micros101

25. I underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor

“I underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor that was pushing up into my brain’s ventricles, preventing fluid from draining properly.

Then it came back 6 month later, and I had to do it all again (plus radiation therapy).

It’s been about seven years.” — Finnegan789 Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly Riordan is the author of Lifeless Souls, available here.

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