Home / Series / 48 Hours / Aired Order / Season 11 / Episode 12

Cheating Death

You're piloting a plane that's out of control, hurtling toward the ground. You've been kidnapped by two jumpy, gun-wielding thugs on the run from the police. A bomb meant to kill you has just exploded in your face. How would you react in cases like this, with death staring you square in the face? Everyone wants to think they'd stay cool under the immense pressure. But until you've gone through it, you can never know. CBS News 48 Hours introduces you to some people who have gone through terrifying experiences - and lived. These men and women have cheated death. Among those you'll meet on this week's show: A pilot who crash-landed a packed passenger plane that had lost both steering and brakes. A perky grandmother who dealt with jittery carjackers by relaxing them with light-hearted banter. The crime ended in a shootout with police, in which one of the carjackers was caught, and the other killed. The grandmother was unhurt. (See the video clip above left.) David Gelernter, a Yale computer science professor who staggered to the hospital on his own after being, as he says, "blown up" by one of Ted Kaczynski's mail bombs. Now recovering, he talks about his ordeal. An inexperienced skydiver who found herself aboard a plane that was nosediving toward the ground. She survived to skydive again.


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