b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Narrow Escapes » Page 1 | Search
This is a question Narrow Escapes

IHateSprouts tells us they once avoided getting caught up in an IRA bomb attack by missing a train. Tell us how you've dodged the Grim Reaper, or simply avoided a bit of trouble.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:31)
Pages: Latest, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, ... 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Two friends playing frisbee as kids...
...with a circular saw-blade.
You know the type that E.T. cuts his finger on when he's making his phone.
One of the friends throws, the other sees it coming at his head and turns.

Not totally a narrow escape but its better to have an industrial blade jutting out from the back of your skull than your face.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:48, Reply)
I flew into London on the morning of the July 7th Bombings
I would have been on the central part of the tube system heading in the direction of Edgeware Road had I caught my first choice of flight which would have arrived in London about 8am.

That flight was sold out, so while I sat in departures waiting on the later flight, my mum rang me in a panic about not getting on the plane and muttering something about the tube system exploding, however at this time it was still a suspected power surge on the line according to the BBC news.

I decided to ask one of the BMI Baby stewardesses on the info kiosk, I walked up and asked:

"Excuse me, I wanted to ask you quietly if you had heard anything about an incident in London? I don't want to cause any panic but my mum just phoned and something about a train has stopped after a large flash of light in a tunnel. have you heard anything?"

"let me just check for you" she said as she called up her supervisor "it's probably just a malfunc....tion....." as her voice trailed off.

It was like something out of a summer blockbuster disaster movie, the TV screen behind me changed to show the exploded bus in London city centre with the headline detailing a terrorist explosion on the London Underground.

The room fell silent and the woman's face went white as she stammered "my husband gets the tube every morning, but...he's....getting the tube...each morning" and ran off behind the staff areas.

I can still hear the slow rise of panic and conversation that got louder and louder as more people realised what had just happened, then everyone's mobile phones began to ring, including mine.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:38, 14 replies)
Not me exactly, but close
My sister was happily growing in mum's womb back in 1960. As was the fashion in those days, mum took medicine to help combat morning sickness. She stopped taking it as it didn't agree with her.

It was called Thalidomide.

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:22, 10 replies)
I think I must've been about six or seven. You know, that age where you do silly things that could potentially kill you but it never really sinks in until much later on in life.

Anyhoo. I was on one of those fancy sleeper train things hurtling across the south of France, upto my armpits in x-men comics and warm coca-cola. The only kind of coca-cola you have on any kind of extended journey.

So yes, the family was all there about to hit the proverbial hay and all that, when I felt that all to familiar tingling in my bladder. Too much warm coke, felt like a balloon was filling up inside of me. So yes, I dragged my sorry behind out of bed and blearily made my way to the loo.

After relieving myself, I was caught in one of those weird inter-section like parts of train, the bits between the carriages and there was no obvious indication as to how I'd made my way there. I went upto one door and it was locked and had a blacked out window. I went to the other and it similarly had a blacked out window. I tried the door on this and WHOOOOOOSH!!!

There was the French countryside in all it's 100mph glory. Ah yes, and my life flashing before my eyes. That didn't take very long as I recall. I was only 8. Only so many memories of birthday parties and power rangers episodes to go around really.

But yes, I was clinging onto the door for dear life, feeling my grip slip away, knowing that my brief life was coming to an end. Then my mum grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and pulled me back inside. "JESUS FUCKING CHRIST SPIDERSLUT, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED?!" I was jabbering whilst my father went completely ballistic at the train guards. "LE FUCKING DOOR-PORT, WHAT LE FUCK?!" etc etc. French was never his strong suit.

So yes, we were moved to first class and all was well. But yeah, it beat alton towers.

Apologies for the length.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:22, 5 replies)
Stormy weather.
One October afternoon, when I had just turned fifteen, me and two friends were walking through the school grounds on the way to a lesson. This was late October of 1987, which UK bods may remember as having one fuck off big storm. The storm itself had passed by this time but trees and buildings were still suffering damage and apt to fall down seemingly at random.
We were late to class as one of my friend was on crutches. This was a usual occurrence as she had brittle bones. We paused outside the music block and pondered which route to take to the classroom - into the doors nearest to us (and into the warm, a nicer option for both us and her, which risked getting even more bollocked for being late) but a longer route or to turn right under some trees (colder as it was outside but a quicker route to the destination and hopefully less bollocking). After a couple of minutes debate we opted to go into the warm building and take the long way round.

We passed through the doors and as they shut behind us, a gust of fairly insignificant wind blew down a massive oak tree, flattening everything around it instantly. It had obviously been damaged in the previous storm and had just been waiting to topple. The noise was like nothing on earth, a sort of rending, squealing roar.
We stood rooted to the spot for a few moments until people came running out from everywhere to see what had happened. Luckily no one was hurt as everyone had been inside in class, but the branches poked a few windows of a nearby building out and flattened a teacher's bicycle.

Had we decided to take the quicker route to class, we would have definitely been under it when it fell, and I would imagine we would have been instantly killed.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:20, Reply)
If I'd been a boy
I'd have been called Charles Francis (surname). I'd probably have offed myself by now...
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:18, 5 replies)
Car Crash
Of course it was a car crash, it just wasn't mine. When I was about 15 and riding home from school, I stopped on the edge of a T junction waiting to cross (4pm was a horrible time because there were cars everywhere). After waiting for 3 minutes patiently I pondered whether to move down road a bit to try again later.

I had moved my bike backwards about 15cm when the car waiting to turn onto the main road went a bit early and was taken out by the oncoming truck. Said truck proceeded to pull the small Mitsubishi straight through the part of air my bicycle had been occupying merely seconds before.

I did NOT hang around long enough to be a witness for anyones police report...
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:18, Reply)
I was nearly aborted
as a suspected ectopic pregnancy. My mum insisted on one last scan and lo and behold, there I was all fine and dandy and in the place where I was supposed to be.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 14:04, 7 replies)
I was driving a van along the M4 with about 2 tonnes of marketing material in the back.
When I came across two lanes of standing traffic, and tried the brakes, they didn't really work.

I swerved into the outside lane, just in front of another car, missing the stationary car in the middle lane by inches. Had I hit it, the van would have stopped (or slowed down significantly), I would have stopped, and the two tonnes of leaflets in the back of the van would probably have kept going. I would have been crushed to death by junk mail.

I was not crushed to death by junk mail. And so 160,000 leaflets were dropped through people's doorways, annoying a small percentage of the population. Hurrah!

After the incident, I pulled over to the inside lane, and slowed to about 30mph for a while, and tried to remember how to breathe. I will never load a van with twice the recommended weight again. I will never drive an overloaded van at 80mph on slightly damp roads again.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:43, Reply)
A wasp
actually flew into my then two-year-old son's mouth as he was spooning down some apple pudding in the cafe of a local petting zoo. It then settled on his lower lip, its little mandibles greedily shovelling down the puree.

Heart-in-mouth I reached over and somehow managed to flick it away and into a fatal collision with the wall. My little one continued with his dessert entirely oblivious. Had he been breathing in, the wasp could have stung his throat and I was filled with nightmarish visions of trying to perform an emergency tracheotomy surrounded by screaming toddlers.

I really fucking hate wasps. Impetuous little, picnic-ruining cunts. When I lived in a flat in London I (temporarily) succeeded in blocking the access routes to a wasps' nest that was located between the false inner wall and its brick exterior. It was such a joy to watch a massive, baffled swarm of them hovering helplessly outside my window as dusk fell.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:39, 15 replies)
Potty break
One sunny weekend back in the 90s I was sat in the back of the family car as we sped down the motorway on the way to visit some relative or other. Just another obligatory long car drive to a fun packed weekend of cheek squeezing and "ooh my haven't they grown".
An hour or two into the drive we were pootling along in the middle lane when my brother announced "I want go potty!".
After taking a few moments to assess the urgency of the situation (URGENT: RED ALERT) my dad indicated and pulled out into the outer lane, just as we were passing under a bridge. The next instant a massive digger scoop landed right where our car would have been.

By the time we reached the hard shoulder we'd all shit ourselves and the potty was no longer necessary.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:38, 3 replies)
DIY car maintenance - common sense required.
Many a year ago I endulged in a bit of DIY car fun to keep my ageing but classic Mk1 Astra GTE on the road.
One easy source of cheap parts was to buy the occasional MOT failure as a donor car and pinch the good bits off it.

So one day I managed to escape death and maiming twice in one day. The recently purchased donor car had, among many useful bits, a near new stainless steel exhaust on it. Literally still with labels etc, probably only done 20 miles!

I decide I'm having that for my car and it's quickly removed from the donor car, which as it's destined for the scrap yard I make no effort in avoiding any damage to the car and simply holes in the car with an angle grinder to make removal easier.

Of course contrary to the Haynes manual refitting is not "simply the reverse of removal". Nor am I about to cut up my prized motor, so fitting it to my car requires a touch more care...

So there's my car propped up on some axle stands to make access a bit easier. Clueless and naive me is sat with my legs under the car while I'm trying to undo a stubborn bolt... after soaking with WD40 I put a spanner on the bolt and give it a whack with a mallet... bit of movement. More whacking = more movement. Perhaps the thing I didn't notice was it wasn't just the bolt moving.... when I paused for breath I noticed the car was quivering a bit, almost shaking.... perhaps it could sense what was about to happen? As that's when I notice the axle stands are no longer upright, but are teetering on edge... and my outstretched legs are underneath a ton of metal essentially balanced on a knife edge. After passing the "oh no" second I scrabble to shuffle backwards away from the car which crashes onto the driveway just as my feet clear the axle, my upright feet now sat either side of the wheel hub in the empty wheel arch. Narrow escape from multiple compound fractures.

Not one to be phased by such mishaps I get everything sorted and turn my attention to the scrap car. What else can I have off it that might be worth something? I recall the petrol tank being pretty empty but there might be a litre of fuel in the fuel line right? So I go and grab an empty 2 litre coke bottle and a stanley knife.

Worryingly easily the fuel line is cut and the pricey petrol begins to glug glug glug into the bottle. In seconds we're past half way and the bottle is filling quickly... too quickly.
I run to the recyling bin and grab more containers, quickly switching bottles my hands are soaked in petrol. I begin to panic as the 3rd and final bottle is nearly full and the flow of petrol shows no sign of stopping! By now I've got the washing up bowl out too, petrol is everywhere, on my clothes, running down the driveway.... the air is thick with the fumes of it... I look around me in a desperate attempt to find a way to stop it.... when I see a bunch of chav kids walking up the road.... smoking....
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:32, 3 replies)
As a six year old, I did the classic of running out from behind a parked car onto a busy main road.
The cars tend to do about 40-50mph on that stretch.

There was a car coming, and it's front wheel came so close to my back heel that it went over the back of my trainer and took it off.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:24, 3 replies)
Another pea ...
I first posted this in a QOTW surrounding Darwin Awards and was rounded upon by non-believers. Let me post the tale again and let me again assure you of its veracity.

Motorway madness
Whenever I don't win the lottery I always console myself with having used up a massive chunk of my life's allocated luck all in one go.

I was driving back to Edinburgh on the M8 one afternoon. As it was my boss's car I was obviously making good progress ... to the tune of maybe 120 - 125mph. In the distance I spotted a BMW sitting in the outside lane but despite the inside lane being empty it showed no sign of pulling in. As I fast approached I flashed it a couple of times but to no avail, there it sat.

Never mind I thought, I'm not slowing down, I'll take it in the inside. As I flew past I looked over to eyeball the driver. There she sat in her own wee world, completely oblivious to anything going on round about her. Needless to say I quickly tried to catch her eye with various manual gestures of a less than polite nature.

Of course rule number one is never take your eyes of the road when driving, shall we say, so enthusiastically and I was just about to find out why. When I looked back the traffic in front had ground to a halt in the approach to the Newbridge roundabout and here's me careering toward the stationary queue at well, well into triple figures.

Cue extreme braking and snaking all over both carriageways. I managed to scrub of some speed down to about 90 but it was obvious there was no way on God's green earth I was going to stop in time and the way I had fishtailed about the road precluded me from taking the hard shoulder option so I bounced and clattered right across the central reservation and on down the wrong side of the motorway.

Fortunately, and here's where my luck came in, there was nothing whatsoever coming in the opposite direction as I passed the long queue to my left. Eventually after about 2 or 3 hundred yards I had slowed enough to dart back across and take up a space very briefly vacated as a car pulled away from in front of a coach.

About a year later the highways agency took it upon themselves to erect Armco barriers right down full length of the central reservation. Lucky it hadn't been in place at the time. If it had I probably wouldn't be typing this.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:23, 7 replies)
I survived the 2008 Earthquake
felt like someone was shaking my bed, which was fairly annoying.

i texted the missus then went to sleep, unknowing that the earth itself had shuggled me up a bit.

i was a mere 130 miles from the epicentre....
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:22, 3 replies)
I was about 200 yards away when the Ealing bomb went off in 2001 and survived
but then so did everyone else.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:17, 4 replies)
The time my friend narrowly escaped being killed by me!

Walking alongside a river in field with a couple of mates (one male and one female) when we were about 14, when suddenly I came across a piece of metal, about a foot long, round, about half an inch in diamater and most importantly spiked at the end.

I picked it up as all curious 14-year-old boys do and started throwing it into the ground to make it stick in the soil.

During this time my mates were having a bit of a squabble and my female friend decided to walk off ahead in a bit of a strop.

At this point I decided it would be a great idea to lob this spiked instrument of death into the air as high as I could...can you see what's coming?

The spike flew out of my hand a little earlier than planned (due to it being wet) and although it went pretty high, it aslo went straight ahead a fair distance.

I shouted to my friend to watch out and she promptly stopped dead in her tracks, bowed her head and covered it with her hands.

It seems she would have been better to carry on walking. The spike fell from the sky, spinning and hit my friend straight in the back of head...along the edge of the metal thankfully.

Half a rotation more and it would have been head kebab skewered into the ground.

Needless to say, she went ever so slightly apeshit on me.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:14, 1 reply)
I've narrowly avoided
bombs in Paris, war in Yugoslavia, revolution in Czechoslovakia. But the narrowest escape of all, the one I will always thank my lucky stars for? If I was a boy, I was going to be called Brian.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:11, 5 replies)
My True Story Of Plucky Survival
Once whilst on holiday in the American Mid-West I was shagging this really fit bird I'd just met when it transpired that she had vagina dentata!
Good job I was poking her up the gary really. Phew. I'd come within an inch of my life.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:10, 2 replies)
narrow guage
More train horror avoidance, I missed a train from Munich back to Mering (the town I was staying in) which was then involved in an accident with a BMW car transporter. Not funny, not exciting, but there you go
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 13:09, 1 reply)
I can confirm that one of the British Army's finest 7.62mm bullets makes this sound when it ricochets off concrete at a firing range, rebounds and embeds itself in the wall just centimetres from your head.

Additionally, I can confirm that the exact noise you make in the following seconds is "Gibber-gibber-gibber-ONMYFUCKINGCHRIST-FAAAAAAAAAAAAAARP-gibber"

Also, having let 240 of the Queen's Volts course through my body whilst doing some electrical work in the bathroom, I can confirm that the exact noise you make when things start getting a bit Final Destination in that department is EXACTLY like Brian Blessed gargling Tabasco.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:56, 12 replies)
I was five minutes in front of the King's Cross bomb on 7th July.
Wisely, I kept my ticket, which confirmed such, and I fancy might have been worth something on eBay.

Until last summer, when having a wallet clear-out, and put all train and tube tickets into the shredder.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:49, 7 replies)

I narrowly escaped having to tell everyone about my lies that got out of control.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:48, 3 replies)
I was a mere 1 chromosome off
being a mong.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:41, 1 reply)
Most of /qotw couldn't even fit through a narrow escape

(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:38, 3 replies)
I once got caught by my wife with another woman. It was a narrow escape, because if she had not of caught me, I'd still be with her. Phew.
(True story)
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:37, 5 replies)

Phew, that was close
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:36, Reply)
I narrowly got first post

edit: 2nd
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:35, Reply)
Story added to validate post.

A few years ago a couple of my friends who sky dive regularly asked me if I wanted to do a jump for charity. I decided to give it a go, this would be a solo jump rather than one of those things where you're strapped to someone that knows what they're doing.

The weekend of the jump arrived and my friend drives us down to the drop-zone for the weekend. The Saturday is spent being given a presentation on what you're suppose to do and what can go wrong and how your deal with it and the equipment we would be using. This is followed with lots of drills that make you feel very silly. Jumping into a star position, looking at the sky and shouting "one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, check canopy" and pretending to check a parachute that doesn't exist. Repeat this for hours, then do another drill for hours to practice cutting away the main chute and pulling your reserve in case things go badly wrong.

Sunday morning is spent doing drills as the weather isn't good, in the afternoon it clears up and the 12 of us there for our first jump are suited up and get into a very small plane. Our helmets have a headset radio, but we can only receive and it only works when you get closer to the ground. I'm at the back of the plane, due to some kind of ordering system that I don't understand so I'll be the last person out.

The drop zone is interestingly situated, in one direction is the sea, in another a static caravan park, in another a railway line and farm fields and in another a lot of trees. We're told if you're going to miss the drop zones big white land on me cross you can go anywhere but if you land on the caravans it will probably kill you. We get a nice view of all these things on the way up.

The plane starts circling, and one at a time the people on board throw themselves out, shout their chute opens and they check the canopy. All good so far. I'm the last up, I get in position in the door and confirm I'm ready. Adrenaline is pumping in my viens, but I feel oddly calm. I get the go and I throw myself out and into the star position.

"one thousand"
"two thousand"
"three thousand"
"one thousand"
"two thousand"
"three thousand"
"check canopy"

Looking up, instead of a nice open chute. I've got a twisted tangle of chute and ropes. We've been told about this in training though, so I know what to do. I take a few seconds to work out which way round the ropes are rapped and then stick out a leg and fling it about in a form of sky hokey cokey. The idea being this will spin me round and untangle the lines.

Spin round a bit, check altimeter, it's getting close to the end of the green. I have to use the reserve chute, before it hits red. Otherwise, even opening the chute I'll hit the ground to fast.

Spin round a bit more, check the altimeter. That yellow section is running out fast.

Spin round a bit more, my chute finally opens. I check the altimeter, I've got a tiny fraction of yellow left. The red zone was seconds away. I won't be dying today.

Now where am I? I've ended up being in a bit of an odd place. I'm also a lot closer to the ground than I was expecting. I have to do some tight turns to get me back lined up with where I need to land.

I managed to land on the edge of the big white cross. I'm also the 3rd person of the 12 to land. Which means I overtook 9 people when I was falling like a stone.

Also one of the other people who was doing the jump got a bit scared watching me fall passed like a rock with a streamer attached and this caused them to forget to stear their parachute to the landing zone. They landed on the far side of the railway lines and had a bit of a walk back to the drop zone.

So that's how I escaped death and made some money for charity.
(, Thu 19 Aug 2010, 12:35, 11 replies)

This question is now closed.

Pages: Latest, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, ... 4, 3, 2, 1