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No One Could Survive That!

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Tonk Fah: You think he'll live?
Denth: He just fell out the third-story window, plummeting toward certain doom. Of course he'll live!

Almost universally uttered after a character (usually a hero but sometimes a villain) takes a wild leap into the unknown as a way to escape pursuit and otherwise-inevitable capture — jumping off a high cliff or across a wide chasm, for instance. The pursuers then give up the chase, confident that their quarry has effectively committed suicide, and never go look for the body to make sure.

Of course, the moment someone says this, they've guaranteed that the person in question not only has survived, but will be coming back to spoil someone's day.

If it happens towards the end of a story, expect a Finger-Twitching Revival... after they've been buried under a ton of bricks.

If the villain's hand reaches up and grabs your ankle from below the ton of bricks/edge of the cliff, that's... a trope of its own.

A frequent variation is "Nothing human could have survived that," which usually heralds or underscores the discovery that the "victim" is either non- or super-human.

Also may be a result of The Worf Barrage or an attempt at Try and Follow.

(This also frequently occurs with explosions and collapsing structures. When it's the hero caught in the explosion, it's possible that no one DID survive that if they weren't stalled by a Disney Death.)

Along with Nothing Can Stop Us Now! and What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, this is one of the things a Genre Savvy character should never ever ever say. In fact, they should Dope Slap anyone who does...

If the trope is overused with one character, it's a case of Why Won't You Die?. It can also lead to Opening a Can of Clones.

See also Left for Dead, Never Found the Body, Soft Water, Not Quite Dead, Million to One Chance, Mistaken Death Confirmation.

Not to be confused with Playing Possum, He's Just Hiding, or No One Should Survive That!.

Please note that this is a Death Trope that can be set up as a twist, so expect spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In 7 Seeds, Hana gets sucked into a whirlpool when she falls into a strong, icy current and everyone assumes she will drown, since trying to save and going after her shows that the pull is incredibly strong and the water is pretty deep and will likely not find her alive or dead. If that wasn't enough, turns out Hana ends up submerged, completely underwater, in a fetal position for about two days - given the events that occur right after this moment - and seems to be unconscious... and yet survives! When she is eventually found by some of her team members, who think she never could've survived, given the circumstances, she explains to them how she survived (she says the water she was submerged in was warm) they find it hard to believe her, but are too happy that she is alive to really care.
  • In AKIRA, Colonel Shikishima exclaims "He must be dead!" after Tetsuo is directly hit by the SOL.
  • Early on in Berserk, a young Guts is shot with an arrow and falls off a cliff, prompting the bowman to proclaim, "He won't survive the fall."
    • Guts and Casca fall off a cliff and into a river and the Midland army immediately write them off as dead. Griffith is unconvinced and orders Judeau to search high and low for them, his instincts are right and Guts and Casca are indeed alive.
    • The Eclipse, which Guts was not supposed to survive. Zodd is quite surprised that Guts defied his prophecy although Guts, as well as Casca, who also survived, is unconscious at the time due to the severe physical and emotional trauma. They were both saved by the Skull Knight before the apostles could finish the job.
    • At the end of volume 21 of the manga, after the Tower of Conviction fell after the mock Eclipse the Kushan army comes and Guts and Casca are surrounded while the other surviving party members escape. No one thinks that they could avoid capture. Moments later, to their surprise, they see Guts escaping with Casca (and Puck) on horseback into the horizon, chopping up Kushan soldiers all the way.
  • Nemu Kurotsuchi in Bleach, impregnated by Szayel Aporro Granz and then as she struggles in extreme pain, and then her belly explodes, her body devoured and Szayel came out forcefully from her mouth. Szayel describes the process as destroying the victim's soul. Any normal people would be killed, but fortunately, Nemu is somehow Made of Iron as Mayuri built her (and her soul being an artificial construct just like her body, is somehow equally durable), so that only leaves her in a withered husk of a body. And then she still came back to her old self of a body because Mayuri had sex on her (or so Uryu & Renji's reactions imply; Mayuri insists they must be perverts to think that). Needless to say, this is one instance where this trope can be squicky to the max.
    • Her Captain Kurotsuchi Mayuri is not free from this trope either, especially when he fought Uryu Ishida and took a full brunt of his arrow, leaving his body blown up, partially. If he didn't have that ability to turn himself into a liquid, he's as good as dead.
      • An arrow that tore through Mayuri's bankai as if it were made of paper, and minor energy leakage from it completely disintegrated surrounding buildings that weren't actually even hit. Ishida was at the time utilizing a form at the time that would burn out his power shortly afterward but temporarily made him one of the most powerful beings in existence. At least half of Mayuri's body no longer existed after he was hit. But then he turned himself to liquid and took a week or two to be back to what passes for normal in his case.
    • Ichigo's been stabbed, sliced almost in half (except for his spine), had Ulquiorra's arm through his chest, and was shot through the same spot (albeit more of it) by the same Arrancar's cero. In the last, he's apparently back on his feet without even being healed first. However, that's probably because of his Inner Hollow.
    • Ulquiorra double-subverts this. He has his entire waist blown off by Ichigo's Superpowered Evil Side, after getting the beatdown of his life. His Healing Factor lets him get back up in time to save Orihime and Ishida and return Ichigo to normal...and then he dies because he doesn't have enough energy left to regenerate his lost organs.
  • Subverted in Claymore when Clare, to throw the insane Ophelia off her trail, deliberately gets herself severely wounded and knocked off a cliff into a rushing river. Unfortunately for her, Ophelia is wise about this...
  • The third Case Closed 2-hour special has a man fall off a cliff as he is shot, a scene with his comrades deciding that he is dead because there's no way he survived, the information that only his jacket was ever recovered and all the characters in the episode believe he is really alive. And in a subversion, it was all a misleading tactic. Apparently, he really didn't survive that.
  • In Code Geass, protagonist Lelouch lures Psychopathic Manchild Mao into a trap where a squad of Mind Controlled police officers gun him down. When the villain returns in the next episode, he remarks that Lelouch really should have told them to "shoot to kill" not just "shoot", and also compliments the Britannian health care system. Which is pretty egregious given that said police were armed with machine guns and included a Knightpolice Frame.
    • Late in the second season, Princess Cornelia is gunned down by a machine gun turret. The next episode, she is seen lying in a hospital bed, injured but recovering.
    • C.C. may be the grand champion of "being able to survive anything". In the first episode, she was shot in the head and returned in episode five as though nothing happened. Later, shrapnel ended up embedded in her chest but she was just fine a few hours later. Not only that, but she was stabbed in the chest by the nun who gave her the Immortality Code which is the reason she survives all these things. This isn't even mentioning the stuff V.V. and later Charles pulls off. Then we have Jeremiah Gottwald who returned in R2 after seemingly sinking into the bottom of the ocean. What's more, back during the first season, he was supposed to be Killed Off for Real in a radiation attack by Kallen's Guren MKII but because he was already so popular the writers changed that, making him visibly eject and show up several episodes later as a Cyborg.
      • A meta-example occurred in Episode 18 of R2, where a FLEIJA tactical warhead obliterated a good section of Tokyo, including (apparently) Shogo Asahina, Alicia Lohmeyer, Gilbert G.P. Guilford, Sayoko Shinozaki, and most importantly Nunnally; in truth, only Asahina and Lohmeyer actually died. When the supposedly dead characters returned, the fandom was divided between those who felt it was an Ass Pull, and those who argued that the elements of their survival were in the episode and required good observation skills to notice.
      • Made hilarious when you start to see the screencaps of the episode which shows such things as Nunnally getting on to a different transport shuttle from Lohmeyer's.
  • Daimos:
    • Erika deliberately fakes her own death to trick Kazuya, believing that their love is a crime as she's a Baam Princess and he's a human, and their planets are at war. Her guilt worsens when she misremembers that during the human-Baam peace conference, she shot Kazuya's father.
    • Margarete is presumed dead by Richter's forces after collapsing from overwork and thrown out of the castle, but she was actually rescued by rebels and taken to New Zealand.
    • Richter is first presumed dead when Georiya takes over the Undersea Castle and sentences him, Raiza and Balbas to death, but thanks to some quick thinking on Raiza's end, the three are able to make it out alive. When Richter tries to singlehandedly get revenge on Olban, Raiza stops him and insists on doing it herself, getting killed in the process. Richter is then scheduled for Execution, but the executioner turns out to be part of La Résistance and helps Richter escape.
  • Daltanious: When Kento was four years old, his dad went missing during a shipwrecking accident, which lead the Tate family to presume he drowned. Afterwards, Kento's grandfather Kazuto helped his mother raise him and his sister. It turns out his dad was actually alive but enslaved on Planet Marios. In Episode 31, the cruiser he boarded was captured was sunk by the Zaal, but he also survived that and came back seven episodes later.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Wizardmon gets tossed into the water and thrown into a wall by Myotismon, things that should have killed him.
    • Etemon and Myotismon/VenomMyotismon are both supposedly killed, yet return as MetalEtemon and MaloMyotismon later on.
    • Wizardmon actually comes back as a ghost in 02, in order to warn Gatomon of the Big Bad.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Broly takes this trope to the logical extreme and beyond, having survived getting punched through the torso and then the planet he was on exploding. Then in his next appearance, Gohan tries to kill him with an erupting volcano and it barely singes the Legendary Super Saiyan. It takes blowing him into the sun with a triple Kamehameha to put him down. Though even then there's enough left of him to make bio-organic copies of him.
    • Played with in regards to Dr. Wheelo, the Big Bad of the movie The World's Strongest. It's invoked by Krillin, then instantly shot down by Goku of all people, who, despite having just Kamehameha'd him into low orbit, knows he's still alive.
    • Out of the Z-Fighters:
      • Goku has recovered from the worst imaginable beatings, as well as numerous explosions, and shot straight through with energy beams, Frieza even calls him a "zombie" at one point. The movies dial it Up to Eleven as Goku gets the life beaten out of him repeatedly but still gets back up.
      • Piccolo, thanks to his Healing Factor, has recovered from horrific injuries; at one point he was turned to stone and Kid Trunks accidentally smashed him to pieces. When the stone spell wore off Piccolo was up and ready to go in a minute having healed his body off-screen.
      • Vegeta is the ultimate example of this trope. As a villain survived getting blown into the sky by Goku's Kamehameha combined with a 4x Kaioken boost, and then tanked the Spirit Bomb not long after (both times he was thought to be dead and wasn't). When he's an Anti-Hero, Vegeta gets as many beatings from villains as Goku. Dragon Ball Super takes this to such an extreme that he's shown surviving his own Suicide Attack, the exact same one that cost him his second life in the Buu Saga.
      • Gohan has survived attacks worse than most of Z-Fighters receive, but his greatest survivability feat comes from his future self, who survived an explosion that blew his arm off and refused to use a senzu bean on himself giving it to Trunks instead.
      • Hell, even Yamcha, the ultimate jobber, was still breathing after Dr. Gero put a hand through his torso. Most villains don't survive getting impaled like that, but Yamcha was up and moving after a single senzu bean despite the massive hole in his sternum.
    • The outcome of Goku and Frieza's death match on the crumbling planet Namek. Goku and Frieza both survive the planet's destruction. Albeit, a little worse for wear in Frieza's case.
    • Cooler surpasses his brother Frieza and other villains when it comes to this trope as he came back from being Kamehameha'd into the sun (something not even Broly could do). This was thanks to the Big Gete Star absorbing a chunk of Cooler's face (that's was still alive) and gave him new life. In Super this is how Frieza was resurrected the first time: in the exact same chunks Future Trunks had cut him down to. And each and every one of these chunks were pretty alive. That sort of survivability definitely runs with his race.
    • Majin Buu invoked this, considering how much Piccolo freaks out seeing Buu reform after Vegeta nuked himself to stop the creature.
  • In Fate/Zero, even Mage Killer Kiritsugu falls for saying this when he completely blows up the hotel that one of his enemies has turned into a fortress and confidently declares over a phone call that no magical defense could have saved him from that. Sure enough, the first sign that the enemy Master survived was that his Servant's curse on Saber did not eventually disappear, as it should have.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has the Homunculi, who have nearly unlimited regenerative powers. Even if you see their smoking corpse in front of you, you probably won't stand a chance against them.
  • The villain Gauron from the anime Full Metal Panic! also takes this trope and runs with it... about 4 or 5 times. This includes being shot in the head before the series starts, two Arm Slaves exploding around him and a self-detonation sequence of a third. However, he comes out of that last one as a quadruple amputee with a missing eye. It doesn't seem to dampen his spirits much.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Hayato puts Asurada GSX's boost in a dangerous spot, the car goes off the track and crashes into the trees, tearing it apart, but the driver's cockpit remains intact and Hayato comes out unharmed. And in the first episode of ZERO, both Hayato and Randoll survive (albeit with serious injuries) after Hayato's car goes off the track banking, his car flies airborne and crashes into the ground.
  • Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin and its sequel Ginga Densetsu Weed:
    • Ben survives stuff like being crushed under a large boulder and getting hit by giant bears and a special attack that damages the insides of the victim (both multiple times). In the end, however, he does die... of old age. His tendency to live through practically anything is even lampshaded in the info book for the original series.
    • Akame has shrugged off such minor annoyances as getting a scythe to the neck, a spear-like front leg to the abdomen and a(n admittedly normal) paw wrist-deep in his chest.
  • Gundam:
  • Inuyasha: Sesshoumaru is stabbed through the chest twice, one of the wounds going right through the heart. His body is then wrapped up in a shell that's supposed to slowly absorb his body and power for Naraku's eventual benefit. He gets stronger.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Battle Tendency: Rudol von Stroheim, who blows himself up with a grenade in order to destroy a vampire that had taken over his body. Even Joseph Joestar, a Brit, sheds a tear for his sacrifice and everyone believes him dead. Then later on in the same story, Joseph unexpectedly runs into Stroheim, alive and well, albeit remade into a cyborg. It helps that, as Stroheim is happy to point out, "GERMAN SCIENCE IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD!!" Ironically, at the end of Part 2, Stroheim is said to have been permanently killed off in the Battle of Stalingrad.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: In the spin-off, Crazy Diamond's Demonic Heartbreak, when trying to shoot Pet Sounds down, Hol Horse shears one of its wings off. It would be understandable to assume that the fall would kill Pet Sounds, but it returns at the end of Chapter 8 to help Karaiya silence Kiyohara.
    • Golden Wind: A few years ago, Polnareff had King Crimson's hand chop through the right side of his face, then gets all but one of his limbs severed, before promptly being dropped off a cliff onto a hard rock. He survived, but was left in a much poorer state. He's confined to a wheelchair with a broken spine, his legs are replaced with prosthetics, his arm was reattached but needs a brace over it, and the eye King Crimson impaled is implied to be blind thanks to the Eyepatch of Power despite its translucency.
  • When Crisis, the national chief of police in Lupin III: Dead or Alive, says that Lupin and his gang couldn't have survived a high fall from a cliff onto rocky waters, Inspector Zenigata laughs at his foolishness. He points out that Lupin has survived the same situation many times before, and he'll stay in Zufu until Lupin is gone.
  • Gamlin Kizaki in Macross 7 probably deserves mention, for his crash in one of the later episodes. Here's what went down: his jet crashes headlong into an enemy mech. The two are traveling toward each other, at a very high combined speed. The impact crushes the front half of the jet like a tin can and shears the wings off. The impact alone would pulp a human body. The two craft then explode in a massive fireball. Gamlin has no time to eject and the impact is shown from INSIDE the cockpit. Yet next episode, he's perfectly fine, not even a scratch. Seriously, how did he survive that?
  • In StrikerS Sound Stage X of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise, the head Mariage fires a high-explosive howitzer-style cannon at Subaru, and pronounces her dead, telling Ixpellia that "That was a shell that could destroy a tank in one blow. It's not something a normal body could withstand." Subaru's body isn't exactly normal...
  • Akito experiences the Disney Death version at least twice in Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Tomoe from My-Otome takes a thousand-or-more-feet drop from the sky (head first!) after her armor was shattered during her final fight against Arika. Just as the castle guards discover her and prepare to pronounce her DOA, she springs back up from the gurney and yells at one of them, and then walks away as if she had simply fallen out of a tree.
    • The same thing happens to Arika and Nina, who survive their final battle after having their Robes break down in outer space!
  • In Naruto both Itachi and Sasuke use jutsus that supposedly no-one can live through in their fight against each other - Amaterasu and Kirin respectively. However, even though Sasuke gleefully believes he finally killed Itachi with Kirin...Itachi uses another jutsu to protect himself.
    • Later, Konan is fighting Tobi and uses a ludicrously over-the-top Finishing Move overcome Tobi's perfect defense: a sea of 600 billion paper bombs exploding nonstop for over ten minutes to exceed his intangibility's time limit of five minutes. Naturally, it isn't enough. Well... it was, he just cheated by using a different Dangerous Forbidden Technique to rewrite reality and undo his death.
  • Happens multiple in One Piece, sometimes to side characters but more often with the protagonists and villains.
    • Pell the strongest Royal Soldier of Alabasta, sacrificed himself to grab a bomb and fly it into the stratosphere. The bomb, had a kill radius of five miles, and exploded narrowing avoiding damage to the city, and leaving everyone from harm, except himself. Pell's sacrifice was mourned. However, he managed to survive, and this is lampshaded by him seeing his own gravestone, and in Movie 8, which is a retelling of the storyline, he meets up with princess Vivi in the end, to receive a giant emotional hug.
    • The Monster Trio (Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji) have survived things that would certainly kill their other crewmates. Luffy has come back after getting his body almost melted by Magellan in the Impel Down arc as numerous explosions and impalements. Zoro has incredible endurance being able to absorb all of the damage and fatigue Luffy had received in the Thriller Bark arc, Zoro has also lost more blood than most crew members. Sanji in the Skypiea arc survived a lighting beam from Enel that was strong enough one-shot a giant snake and even vaporize a normal human being.
      • All three of them could also handle swimming 5000 feet underwater, where there's enough pressure to crack a submarine. Or even earlier in the Jaya Arc when the trio were thought to be dead when they seemly were swallowed whole by a gargantuan turtle, yet only a few minutes later they showed up again no worse for wear. Usopp and other crewmates don't believe Luffy, Zoro and Sanji are even human at times.
    • Lola lampshades this in Thriller Bark:
      How can he (Zoro) still be standing after taking a hit from the giant? I don't even know who the real zombie is anymore!
    • Franky getting run over by the Sea Train deserves a special mention, as it seemly tore him to pieces in the eyes of The Government yet Franky miraculously stayed alive long enough to turn himself into a Cyborg before he bled out.
    • Doflamingo is worthy of mention as he recovered from getting his internal organs sliced by Law's Gamma Knife and was still alive after Luffy's Kong Gun punching him through the island.
    • The Yonkos live and breath this trope, Whitebeard kept going after getting his face blasted off (and lava punched through the torso) and only died after getting shot a billion-something times. Big Mom is a freak in even terms of One Piece standards since bullets, cannon and missiles just bounce off her and Pedro's Heroic Sacrifice with a stockpile of dynamite just staggered her slightly. Nami even used Big Mom's own Weather Manipulation against her and hits BM with an Enel-like blast that puts a crater in the forest and Big Mom just keeps right on going like it's nothing. Kaido's Establishing Character Moment was this, as he fell 10,000 meters from the sky onto the ground creating a massive shockwave and emerged only with a headache... all while the narrator tells of the other times Kaido survived the unsurvivable. To the point that suicide attempts are actually one of Kaido's hobbies, because he's supremely confident that he'll always survive no matter what.
      • Special mention for Big Mom's sons Perospero and Oven, the former surviving the aforementioned dynamite explosion (losing an arm in the process); and the latter recovering from being getting run over a massive tank ship and being shot through with an energy beam respectively.
    • Oden Kozuki puts a lot of these examples to shame as in the climax of his Flash Back, his execution entails being Stewed Alive in boiling oil (which explicitly burned another man to death in seconds) and yet Oden survives for a full hour all while holding his 9 retainers above his head. Kaido is begrudgingly forced to use a flintlock to shoot Oden in the head to kill him for real.
    • Subverted somewhat in Movie 4: Biera the boiler room operator on Gasparde's ship sets the boiler to explode, stating that he's going to see it to the end. After the Luffy vs. Gasparde battle, he shows up alive and well. When asked about why he's alive, he replies with something to the effect of "I said I was going to watch it to the end, not be in the explosion."
  • One episode of Pokémon: The Series has a rampaging Regigigas apparently crushed under a large pile of rubble. Brock tries to say the line but he doesn't even get to finish the sentence before Regigigas pops out and restarts the destruction.
  • A recurring antagonist said something along these lines in Rosario + Vampire before Tsukune first receives Moka's blood. The actual quote was something along the lines of "to thrust himself into the fire... despite the human body being so frail it will die with only 50% of its skin burned."
  • Saitou Hajime from Rurouni Kenshin is so great at this, he practically lampshades it to Sagara Sanosuke as he walked and smoked nonchalantly to seemingly-certain death at the climax of the Kyoto arc. He lampshades it again when he makes his return during the Jinchuu arc to the disbelief of the Kenshingumi, even going so far as to refer to himself as the Shinsengumi's sole immortal.
    • Another example. Kenshin jumps into a river to save a stupid rich kid. The man who's goons he'd been fighting at the time proceeded to say, "I hear the water runs quite fast around here," and leaves him for dead. Never mind the fact that he just kicked the stuffing out of the villain's top four lieutenants, and, having jumped voluntarily, the hero thought that he could take it.
    • Makoto Shishio could very well be the Trope Codifier for this. He survived being shot in the head, being doused in oil and set on fire, and even having his head cleaved in two!
  • In Sailor Moon S, when Usagi is surprised to see Kaorinite again after she was frozen and thrown off a cliff, Artemis reminds her that they Never Found the Body.
    • Kaorinite throws Sailor Neptune over a waterfall, yet she survives.
    • During this same season, Neptune knowingly walks down a path lined with Machine guns that trigger each time she takes a step. She keeps going until the guns run out of ammo. No blood is shown but each time she takes a step it shows her getting filled with bullets each step (Albeit in silhouette). The villain who rigged the trap is confounded that she managed to make it over to her let alone live. She dies moments later from a different source though.
    • Later, at the end of SuperS, Nehelenia throws Chibiusa off the zeppelin of the Dead Moon Circus, and Super Sailor Moon dives off of it without a second thought. Nehelenia returns to her seal, confident that she's killed Princess Serenity. She is later understandably upset in Stars when Galaxia reveals that Serenity survived.
  • In Saint Seiya, Phoenix Ikki has been thrown into Hades and into a timeless "Another Dimension". Places from which no one returns. But it's not like something like that would ever stop him, right?
  • Lampshaded in the last season of Symphogear, a franchise in which everything runs on Disco Tech. One villain thinks they've gotten one of the heroes after a big attack, only for another to complain that the hero's obviously not dead because their theme song is still playing.
  • Voltes V: Kentaro faces this twice.
    • Mitsuyo thought he was dead because he never returned after going back to Boazania, but he was actually imprisoned.
    • Prince Heinel believed him to be dead because his forces ensured Kentaro fell off a cliff and drowned. Episodes later, it's revealed that Dange and several other Boazanian rebels came to his aid and brought him back to their secret base.
  • L-Elf says this at the end of the first season of Valvrave the Liberator after Haruto's mecha unloads a barrage of energy blasts on a seemingly defenseless Cain. He is, of course, completely unharmed, and after a bit of Evil Gloating he flies off to take the helm of some sort of overpowered energy-mecha.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Seto Kaiba jumps out a window to escape from pursuing thugs, who deliver the line. In a slight twist, a character who is supposedly Kaiba's ghost appears after this, making it seem as if the thugs were right: it later turns out that he did survive and that the ghost is a fake. In the dub, the character's supposedly the physical manifestation of Kaiba's inner darkness. Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
      Mook 1: There's no way he could have survived that fall.
      Seto Kaiba: Actually, I seem to be okay.
      Mook 2: Nope, he's definitely dead.
      Seto Kaiba: You guys are idiots.
      Mook 1: At least we're not dead, like you.
    • This also happens when Marik uses the Dragon of Ra to attack Joey, which should cause him so much pain that he should be vaporized. Thankfully, Joey's an anime character, so he manages to survive, and is up and walking around several episodes later.
  • Zombie Land Saga: How the public reacts to Franchouchou's various death-defying (well... nevermind) exploits.
    • They survive a lightning strike that completely wrecks their stage, but they themselves don't look any worse for wear. They even enter a Super Mode because of this.
    • They appear to have been crushed by their collapsing stage under the force of a blizzard, only to power through and keep the performance going.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Big Fight, the Roman patrol sent to get rid of Getafix returns to camp after a menhir thrown by Obelix lands on the druid, seemingly crushing him, and confidently reports to Centurion Nimbus that no human being could have survived such a blow. Nimbus hopes they're right, although he sometimes wonders if the Gauls are human. Sure enough, Getafix is still alive, though suffering from amnesia.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search: Ozai doesn't believe for a second Vachir's claim that no one could survive in Forgetful Valley and his target must be dead already. (Now we know where Azula learned it.) Well, Ikem discarded his identity and got a new face, so metaphorically, he was dead.
  • Batman: The Joker is practically the poster child for this trope:
    • Once, he not only survived being struck by lightning and falling into the sea but managed to almost dethrone Aquaman while he was down there.
    • On another occasion, he was shot in the chest multiple times at point-blank range, while in a helicopter that then exploded with him in it, and fell into the sea. Even Superman Never Found the Body though...
    • Then there was the time a police officer in a Batman costume shot him point blank in the forehead. It just made him crazier.
    • The Joker even lampshaded this fact on an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
      Joker: Oh who cares? I've been blown up, thrown down smokestacks, fed to sharks; I'm the Joker! I always survive!
  • Batman: Black and White: In "A Game of Bat and Rat", a hoodlum fires a rocket launcher at Batman, blowing up the vehicle he was crouching on top of. "No way Bat-boy coulda lived through that," he says confidently — and, of course, incorrectly. He just has time for a round of boasting at the local Bad Guy Bar before Batman is back to get him.
  • Big Bang Comics: In the first issue published by Image, Mighty Man faces off against a superintelligent mind controlling Nazi caterpillar who is cut in half at the end of the story; Naturally, Mighty Man states that he probably won't hear from this villain again. A later story shows two worms as part of a Legion of Doom plotting against the Round Table of America, implied to be the two halves regenerated.
  • Blake and Mortimer: in The Francis Blake Affair, the guards chasing after Mortimer stop looking for him when he jumps off a cliff and they see something hit the water below. It's revealed a few pages later that Mortimer isn't dead: he just managed to land on a platform and push a giant stone into the sea in less than one minute.
  • Death, Lies, and Treachery: In the second issue, Ry-Kooda is buried in a collapsing shaft, and his crony Boz says not even Ry-Kooda could survive that. The final issue has Ry-Kooda burst out of the rubble though, and it takes blowing him in half with a grenade to kill him.
  • Hellboy: Herman von Klempt is pretty good at this. In 1939 (shown at the beginning of Conqueror Worm) he was at ground zero of an explosion involving the Nazi space program and was the only survivor. However, he was reduced to a Head In A Jar. Later, Hellboy blew up Von Klempt's lab, with von Klempt inside, yet Robert Zinco and Karl Ruprect Kroenen were able to find and revive him again. Then their laboratory exploded, and Von Klempt was again the only survivor. At the end of Conqueror Worm, Roger breaks Von Klempt's head jar, killing him for real. In 1946, his attempt to launch a rocket carrying mutant vampires at the United States was foiled, and he was onboard the rocket when it blew up. Trevor Bruttenholm assumes him dead, but Varvara gives him a "what are you, stupid?" look for jumping to conclusions like that.
  • Hellblazer: Being an escapologist, con artist, and walking plot device, John Constantine has made a name for himself due to this. He's been face to face against the most powerful beings in existence such as the Satan and God (gods) himself, and somehow only leaves (and I quote) "a nod, a wink, and a wisecrack". It also helps that Deus ex Machina is one of his signature magical powers.
    • His sidekick, Chas Chandler, also has his few shares. The guy survived from almost being raped by a demon, to having a long nose fuel truck fall unto his head... before exploding (and he even had no scratches).
    • The god-turned demon Nergal also has this. Years of fighting with Constantine, the demon survived the end of John's wit. This included being ripped apart when John baited him to the gates of Heaven (but not before trapping him in a computer!), to being completely destroyed by the First of the Fallen.
  • The Incredible Hulk: This is how the Hulk got started- "Puny Banner" got himself nuked by his own gamma bomb!
  • Iron Man: Inverted with Boris Bullski, the original Titanium Man. Considering how he seemed to die, his chances seem grim: He threatened the parents of a Soviet defector named Sergei, forcing him to design armor similar to his for a band of anarchists made up of dissatisfied Vietnam veterans called the Green Liberation Front, who would act as a distraction for a cyber attack on the New York Stock Market. But when Sergei discovered that his parents were dead he exposed Bullski's true identity as a Russian agent, and the angry members of the G.L.F. turned on the Titanium Man. Teleporting away, he rematerialized in card form, which Sergei then simply tore up and threw away. Still, it was hinted in that very issue that Bullski had actually survived, and indeed, he had.

  • Justice League of America: During the first story arc of Grant Morrison's JLA (1997), the villains of the month have shot down Batman's plane. They don't even bother to check the wreckage, since "he doesn't have any powers." Seems to be a straight example, but turns out to be Foreshadowing that they're actually White Martians, who would have been vulnerable to the fire from the burning wreckage.
  • Luke Cage: In the final issue of Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, before it was rebranded Power Man and Iron Fist, the villain Bushmaster is subject to the same process that gave Luke his powers, before his base explodes. As everyone flees, Misty Knight declares there's no way he could've survived the process or the resulting explosion. The final line is Luke noting he survived. Sure enough, it turned out Bushmaster lived... sort of.
  • Nemesis: The vigilante hero Nemesis (real name: Tom Tresser) had a backup feature in The Brave and the Bold for a few years, even teaming up with Batman a few times in the main story. For issue #193, they teamed up again to look for the murderer of Nemesis's brother. At the end of the story Nemesis pilots a helicopter full of explosives into the villain's headquarters. Upon seeing the resulting devastation, Batman practically says the trope word-for-word.note  Nevertheless, Nemesis turned up hale and hearty a few years later in the pages of Suicide Squad.
  • New Mutants: Lampshaded in an old issue after Sunspot hurled the ancient mutant Selene into a lava pit and caved it in behind her to the horror of his teammates. After seeing a sword plunged into her chest without slowing her down, he was inclined to take her claim that she could not die by mortal means at face value.
  • New Warriors: In one issue, the eponymous teen heroes have a moment like this after the villain is defeated. Spider-Man, who happens to be teaming up with them at the time, isn't so sure and begins to tell the story of how Doctor Octopus survived a ground-zero nuclear bomb explosion...
  • The Outsiders: Lampshaded in Outsiders 1985 #7. When bad guy the Duke of Oil falls off an oil rig (after having a sword put through his head), Metamorpho (himself a master of Back from the Dead) remarks that "If you don't find a body, they aren't dead".
  • Persepolis: This really happened to the author of Persepolis 1 and 2 (Marjane Satrapi), which is depicted in Persepolis 2, "The Story of A Return". Suffering from deep depression, Satrapi takes all of her meds at once. This knocks her out cold a few days before subjecting her to hours of bizarre hallucinations... However, according to her then-psychiatrist, what she took was enough to kill a small elephant. Satrapi took this as a sign that she was not meant to die.
  • Promethea: The Painted Doll keeps waking up in the river with fuzzy memories of another narrow escape no matter how seemingly sure the previous demise seemed. When a large group of Painted Dolls revive at once it is finally revealed that the character is actually a series of automatons.
  • Runaways: The team saw a missile go off near Chase and counted him as dead. In a case of desperate genre savviness Molly guessed exactly how Chase survived and hadn't come back yet. Her friends refuse to believe her, sparking the immortal, "Why are you not awesomed by me!?"
  • Secret Wars (1984): Late in the series, Doctor Doom successfully kills the heroes (multiple times). However, a traitorous minion presents a scenario to Doom where the heroes could have survived. Doom had recently gained reality-warping powers that he couldn't fully control, and he accidentally resurrected the heroes simply by considering that they might have survived (even though they hadn't until Doom thought of it)
  • Super Dinosaur: General Casey spouted the line when Tyrannosaurus X was caught in a huge explosion that brought a building down on him. Needless to say, he survived.
  • Superman:
    • War World: Mongul apparently dies when War World blows up, but he shows up some time after in Prince Gavyn's Throneworld (as narrated in DC Comics Presents #36), with no explanation as to how he survived.
    • In Who is Superwoman?, the titular villain's body falls apart and explodes when Supergirl rips her suit off. Everybody believe she's dead (including Supergirl, whose Super-Senses allow her to analyze matter at the atomic level), but the spells and alien DNA respectively woven and grafted into Superwoman's costume reconstruct her body fully.
    • In Crucible, the main characters have to destroy the Superboy clonelings grown by Korstus, but damaging the cloning pods will trigger a self-destruct mechanism which will obliterate the whole facility. Thus, Supergirl and Superboy convince their friends to get to safety while they stand behind to destroy Korstus' lab, arguing their superhuman toughness gives them a chance of surviving. As watching a huge chunk of Crucible Academy being consumed by a giant fireball, Lys Amata wonders how her students could possibly survive. Seconds later, both Kryptonian teenagers fly out of the blazes.
      Lys Amata: How could anyone survive that—
      Maxima: (spotting both Supers) Wait, look—!
    • In Starfire's Revenge: As she is being chased by Supergirl, the titular villain gets accidentally thrown out of a window and into the castle's moat. Thinking a dive from that height would kill anybody, Supergirl guesses Starfire has fallen to her death.
    • In The Plague of the Antibiotic Man, Amalak gloats that Supergirl must be dead since she got caught by his spaceship's explosion. Later, she reappears and says she was merely knocked out.
      Amalak: You see, I noticed that my star-cannon was about to self-destruct... Just before it did, I teleported here! Supergirl, however, was on board my ship when it was blasted into nothingness! She could not have survived!
      Supergirl: Amalak grossly overestimated the deadliness of his star cannon!
  • Tintin: every time Tintin is involved in a gruesome car accident, the people trying to kill or capture him go check the burning wreckage in an unusual display of genre savviness. Unfortunately for them, Tintin always escapes those accidents by jumping from the car right before it goes off the road, so he generally ends up stealing his pursuers' car (and in one case tank) while they're looking for his body.
    • Also, every time Tintin gets shot, the bullet just happens to miss any major organs or merely grazes his skull. In one particularly Egregious case, Tintin is sentenced to death by firing squad, but the guns were filled with blanks beforehand and Tintin faked death - yet somehow, no one notices that he's not bleeding despite supposedly being riddled by bullets, even though, given the secrecy of the whole thing, clearly not everybody was in on the conspiracy.
  • Tom Strong: Subverted twice in one issue, in which the eponymous hero learns from his arch-nemesis that one of his other enemies actually died from breaking her neck in a fall into the Niagara Falls at the conclusion of their last battle. This foreshadows the fact that Paul Saveen, Tom's archenemy, is himself just as dead as previously believed — the Saveen that Tom was speaking to was a Master of Disguise stand-in. There's also a Retraux Flashback to the first time the two met, which ended with Saveen seemingly falling to his death into a vat of phlogisten. After they reminisce about it Tom actually asks Saveen how he survived.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): In a comic set on Cybertron, Optimus Prime has Gears blow up a bridge to prevent Megatron from gaining access to Iacon. When Megatron is blown into the air and buried under masses of metal, Gear remarks that nobody could possibly have survived that. Guess what happens in the next panel.
  • Tyson Hesse's Diesel: The whole town of Peacetowne blows up. Cap and Phillip got out and it's later revealed most of Peacetowne's inhabitants survived, injured but alive, and are trapped in the wreckage of Peacetowne, waiting for Cap and Phillip to bring help.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): During Priscilla Rich's first outing as the Cheetah she jumps from the roof of a four story building into a raging fire. When Diana later sees Pris she's rather shocked as she'd suspected she was Cheetah, but then dismisses her earlier suspicions as Pris being alive and fine must mean she wasn't Cheetah since the villan has to be dead.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): Achilles gets this reaction when he gets back up and takes down his attacker, with a sword lodged through his heart. The undead hero points out that his current heart originally belonged to a god and a little thing like getting impaled is more of a shock and inconvenience than anything, despite the copious blood loss.
  • X-Men:
    • One comic features Cyclops telling Siryn this about her father Banshee. Her response is that this is an X-Men Comic without the glaring hole in the fourth wall. So she was wrong for 7 years.
    • The epilogue of The Dark Phoenix Saga has Cyclops recounting how Jean Grey became Phoenix.
      Cyclops: We all thought she'd died. Certainly nothing even remotely human could have survived. Nothing remotely human did.
    • Magneto. The man got his powers while being machine-gunned along with his family at freakin' Auschwitz, climbing out of the mass-burial trench! His own KIDS have called him on this, as The Avengers snarked the trope but clearly were too jaded by previous Magneto comebacks to believe he was gone for good for one moment. In X-Men #3, the audience is supposed to say that as Magneto's asteroid hurtles through the atmosphere, presumably killing him. Guess what happens a few issues later...
    • Of all the X-Men Iceman even more so than Wolverine is the king of this trope. Every major X-Men event (at least after the full extent of his ice powers were revealed) has him at some point being crushed, melted, or destroyed but due to being one of the 10 or so most powerful mutants always comes back. He once exploded in his human form, came back as gas, from gas turned to steam, from steam water vapor, from vapor to melted ice, until he finally solidified as flesh.
  • Zot!: The villainous cyborg Dekko. The first time was a subversion: Dekko seemed to have shot himself dead while foolishly playing with a gun thought to be empty. But Zot never bought it at all, because he knew that the gun was empty and that Dekko must've deliberately recharged it. He also notes that no body was found and that Dekko's walking ocean fortress receded beneath the waves as if controlled remotely. As it turns out, the Dekko that shot himself was a remotely controlled robot. It happens again when Dekko is crushed by a collapsing wall and trapped as his fortress sinks, only to rise from the sea (without any legs) and rave about his immortality to seagulls before yelling at the reader.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dan Dare: Several examples, but a particularly noteworthy one features in the story Prisoners of Space. Dan's out-of-control ship is destroyed by Treen fighters and everyone, on both sides, is convinced he is dead. A Treen guard later meets him and assumes that he must be immortal, and so changes sides. For some reason, nobody considered the mundane truth that Dan simply bailed out before his ship was destroyed.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Tamers Forever Series BlackWarGreymon make this mistake twice regarding Takato.
  • In Slipping Between Worlds, a bomb explosion in Northern Ireland is so large that the automatic assumption is that seven, possibly eight, people caught up in it have quite simply been vapourised, as Nobody Could Have Survived That. Their bodies are assumed to have been blasted into the rubble and dust that was formerly a large part of an urban street. Nobody Could Have Survived That is also the first thought of most of the seven men caught up in the blast - along with the Million to One Chance that throws them across time and space to somewhere Else.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, this is lampshaded in episode 12 where Mr. Black survives having his neck broken, though it's realistic in that he'd die very quickly if not treated. He ends up barely surviving.
  • In Bad Future Crusaders, Scootaloo encountered what she thought were the dead bodies of Snips and Snails the night Ponyville was destroyed. Meeting the very much alive Snails years later bothers her to no end because she simply can't accept that he had survived it.
    Scootaloo: Look, I was young and I was scared, but I know what I saw. That night, I mean. I can't believe he survived that. It's rubbing me the wrong way, and I trust my gut.
  • In The Witch of the Everfree, everypony assumes that Sunset is dead after she takes a long fall into a river and then gets washed away in the current. It's helped along by her deliberate evasion of search parties.
  • In Beyond the Veil Volume One: Arrival Asteroid M explodes with Magneto and Mystique apparently still on it.
    Jean: No one could have survived that!
    Harry: The less of a chance someone has in surviving something, means the more of a chance that they actually have of surviving.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku spouts this when K.E.L.E.X. instructs him to use the local fauna on Korusan Island (a Kaiju corpse filled with noxious gas that liquefies all known Earth metals and kills Earth life in seconds) as target practice, only to be proved wrong when he turns around and sees a shark-headed tentacle monster staring back at him.
    Izuku: Come on, there's nothing alive in- [hears a cackling noise and slowly turns his head to see a monster staring back at him] AAAAAAH! [runs away screaming]
  • The Seven Misfortunes of Lady Fortune has Marinette shot seven times and dropping off a bridge. All caught on video by an accidental bypasser.
  • In the second-to-last chapter of Son of the Sannin, Kiba and Tamaki are certain that after taking a giant meteor at point-blank range and falling back to Earth, Madara must be nothing but ashes now. Sasuke however feels there's a chance he could have survived, and sure enough, he appears to have one last dance against them.
  • At one point in Becoming a True Invader, Tak declares this after dropping Zim off a building on Vort. The Employer calls her out for not sticking around long enough to confirm that the fall killed him.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe fanfic The Storms of War, Steve refuses to let Sharon, who was recently injured during a mission and hasn't fully recovered yet, accompany him, Sam, and Wanda to Wakanda when they receive a distress signal, stating that it's too dangerous for her to go, upsetting her, which isn't helped by the fact that he had already basically left her behind after she stole his shield for him. When Sharon is left alone at the team's safe house, she's attacked by mercenaries and the fight ends with her blowing the safe house up. By the time Steve, Sam, and Wanda get back, they can't find Sharon in the wreckage which causes Steve to feel immense guilt for his decision to leave her behind. When Steve meets Sharon again, who was rescued by Natasha, the two share an intimate hug.

    Film — Animated 
  • Aladdin and the King of Thieves: Saluk is presumed dead when Aladdin knocks him off a cliff in their duel. As soon as the Forty Thieves are done welcoming Al to the team, the movie cuts to Saluk surfacing and killing a shark as he makes his way ashore.
  • An American Tail: Fievel's parents spend most of the film mourning his "death" after a storm at sea sweeps him overboard and out of sight. Little do they know that he ended up inside a bottle, floated safely to shore, and is looking for them.
  • Meta example: Fans of the Disney film Cinderella widely believed the villainous cat Lucifer died when he fell from Cinderella's tower after being chased off by Bruno the dog, as this was a typical Disney Villain Death. Therefore, they were surprised when he turned up alive and well in the sequels. note 
  • Metro Man in Megamind gets hit with the power of the sun after being weakened by a copper trap, prompting this trope: "I don't think even he could survive that". As a subversion to normal expectations, his Deader than Dead skeleton ends up in plain view of the main characters. Later double subverted when it's revealed that Metro Man used it to fake his own death.
  • The Frog Princess: During Ivan's battle with the dragon, Koshchei says at one point "He was burned alive!" Cue a scene of the prince cutting off the dragon's heads.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In '71, Sergeant Lewis assures Harris that Gary was killed in the explosion at the pub. However, Gary survives and they realise that He Knows Too Much.
  • In Grease 2, Michael (as the masked "Cool Rider") disappears for almost the last fifth of the film after Johnny and his gang chase him into jumping his motorcycle off one edge of a wide chasm; it's unclear whether he survived or not until almost the very end of the film.
  • The Lie: Jay does not think Britney could have survived his daughter Kayla pushing her off the bridge. Even if she survived falling from such a height, she would ve drowned or died of hypothermia. That's how he rationalized not calling for help. Of course, he doesn't know Britney was not pushed at all and is very much alive.
  • In Unbreakable, David surviving a train crash that left all the other passengers dead is the trigger for the whole story.
  • Subverted in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The two heroes jump off a cliff to escape pursuit. Sundance says that he can't swim, and Butch laughs, saying "The fall will prob'ly kill ya!" (See also Asymmetric Dilemma.)
  • In The Godfather, the eponymous character miraculously survives being shot eight times. At the later assassination of Santino, the hit men take no chances.
  • In The Fugitive, Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) jumps off a spillway on a dam into the rushing water below. U.S. Marshal Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) wants to make sure they see his dead body, despite claims by everyone else that he couldn't possibly survive the fall. In an early draft of the script, Gerard flat-out tells Kimble, "You'll never make it" as he stands at the edge of the dam, gearing himself up to jump.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In The Two Towers, Aragorn falls off a rather steep cliff with his arm still caught in a warg's bridle. River or not, there were quite a few rocks below the cliff...
    • Gandalf's little trip down to the bottom of Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring...
      • Subverted/averted (depends on how you look at it). Gandalf did die (as in his spirit left the physical world altogether), but was resurrected by Eru himself (the Middle-earth God) to carry on his mission.
    • Faramir's minor Pincushion Syndrome would count.
    • And the reactions of the remnants of the Fellowship scream this near the end of The Return of the King. Y'know, when the volcano goes boom?
    • In Moria Frodo looks to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by the troll and the rest of the fellowship reacts in this manner. Thankfully to their surprise he's secretly wearing Bilbo's mythril chainmail.
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: When Commander Cody turns on Obi-Wan and has him shot by a tank, causing him to fall off a cliff, one of his subordinates declares "no one could have survived that fall." He says the line out loud even as Obi-Wan is climbing up behind him. On the other hand, Mace Windu almost certainly didn't survive that. Probably.
    • Averted when Yoda falls to the floor of the Senate after losing his battle with Emperor Palpatine. When his body isn't found, Palpatine, Genre Savvy as ever, insists he's not dead and to look again.
      • Obi-Wan fell outdoors into a body of water, and searching for his body would be difficult, and if they didn't find it, there's a number of things that could've happened to it (washed away, eaten by some scavenger, etc.). Whereas Yoda fell inside. Only place his body could've been if he was dead was on the floor below. And, to be fair, the clone troopers at least sent out seeker droids to check.
    • Darth Vader. After getting sliced up by Obi-Wan, he falls near the lava and incinerates. Obi-Wan figures Vader will never survive having all his limbs sliced off and his skin burned, and so leaves him to die. Palpatine saves him. One would think Obi-Wan would've given at least a Mercy Kill, as it seems uncharacteristically cruel to leave him to burn like that, but since we already had Episodes IV, V and VI he was Doomed by Canon to let Vader live. One answer is he did not leave Vader because he thought he would die, or anything like that. He left Vader because he had already come dangerously close to falling to the Dark Side in his own rage, anger, and grief at losing someone he loved. Whatever Vader felt about Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan still thought of him as little Ani. So he steps away, afraid of falling entirely to the Dark Side, and leaves Vader to the fate of the Force. In the novelisation, he acknowledges that killing Vader would be the merciful thing to do, but was aware of Palpatine's presence and knew he wouldn't have time. He decides to leave it up to The Force. He also wasn't feeling very merciful.
    • During the light-saber fight between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan uses the force to summon his masters saber and cuts Maul in half at the waist. The Sith tumbles down the shaft where Kenobi had been hanging, seemingly to his death. Somehow, though, he shows up later in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels and Solo, having survived entirely on his hate of Kenobi. A light-saber wouldn't cause blood, and shock could in theory be avoided through the Force and sheer force of will. That doesn't explain him surviving the fall, or how he got off the planet.
    • In the climax of The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker arrives, and Kylo Ren has every AT-M6 there rain down a barrage of cannon fire in response. Since he is so consumed by rage, Ren orders the fire to continue well past the point of plausible need, and Hux snarkily asks if Ren thinks they got the target. Ren goes out to see the aftermath, and it turns out Luke DID survive, but only because he didn't really make the trip.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze: Raphael mocks the idea of Shredder having survived his "half gainer right into the back of a garbage truck" at the climax of the first movie; Shredder not only survived the fall, but also being compacted. Subverted at the end: Super Shredder wrecks a pier, bringing the whole structure down on himself and the Turtles. The Turtles see his hand emerge from the wreckage, and Raphael exclaims, "Nobody coulda survived that!" The hand then falls, indicating that Shredder has, in fact, died this time.
  • The Terminator series (particularly Terminator 2: Judgment Day) seems to be mostly built around this trope, at least for the inexperienced Action Survivor characters.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man, Big Bad Stane seemingly falls to his death from over 85,000 feet. The next scene shows protagonist Tony Stark barely making it back alive, seemingly setting it up like Stane DID die. However, he was perfectly fine, and only died when the arc reactor he was over blew up in a classic example of power glowing. A deleted scene shows Stane even survived that, and was only killed when he fell into the arc reactor.
    • Ironically for man in Powered Armor Tony Stark himself has sustained more battle damage and feats of survivability than other human in the MCU. Mr Stark has recovered from getting hit with his own shrapnel missile to the chest, falling into the desert from several stories in the air, blasted with Thor's Lightning, getting shredded in the Helicarrier turbines, flying through a portal into space and back, having his mansion fall on him, being battered by The Hulk and even impaled by Thanos.
      • Iron Man is still human however, and Tony's arm left arm is permanently damaged due to his heroic antics. Though in spite of being a "normal human", it's telling that the thing that actually kills Tony in Avengers: Endgame is using the combined power of all six Infinity Stones in his Heroic Sacrifice, and even the likes of Thanos and Hulk are mortally weakened when they use the combined stones... and yet Tony was still conscious for a few minutes before passing away.
    • Invoked when talking about the creation of The Incredible Hulk in The Avengers (2012).
      Tony Stark: Hey, I've read all about your accident. That much gamma exposure should have killed you.
      Bruce Banner: So you're saying that the Hulk... the other guy... saved my life?
    • Thor has equal or perhaps greater survivability, than The Hulk considering the amount crap he's walked away from everything from merely falling from the Helicarrier and smashing into the Earth to tanking the full force of a re-ignited star. It's less Super-Toughness with Thor with more like Nigh-Invulnerability.
    • Captain America was thought to be "Missing in Action" after crashing the HYDRA plane in the ice in The First Avenger. So it was a shock for the S.H.I.E.L.D agents to discover Steve was still kicking after 70+ years as the human popsicle.
      • Similarly Bucky's fall off the train in the freaking Alps appears even less survivable than his supposed death in the comics, yet HYDRA just found and carried Bucky off on a stretcher shortly after, with the only damage being a missing arm. The Hand Wave justification is that Zola's experiments on Bucky while he was captured gave him enhanced physiology which Cap surmises upon discovering his friend is alive in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    • Aldrich Killian from Iron Man 3 recovers from getting a trapped in a Iron Man suit which explodes into chunks, Pepper similarity recovers from a great height into fiery explosion. This is due to the Extremis Virus granting a Healing Factor.
    • Averted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Despite the fact that they fired a missile at a bunker that he had no way of getting out of, HYDRA does not assume that Captain America was killed and immediately follows up being sending an extremely heavily armed team backed by military fliers to ensure that he is dead. When a single piece of evidence indicates that he survived, they call HQ right away to send the Winter Soldier after him.
      • Played straight later as Captain America and Winter Soldier survive falling out of the exploding Helicarriers. Also Brock Rumlow a regular human being survives a building + Helicarrier falling on him (albeit horrifically scarred).
    • Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) pulls this off twice, first the Guardians hit him with a BFG and it doesn't work then Rocket rams him with a spaceship and everything explodes. Ronan however emerges from wreckage without a scratch, it takes using the Power Stone to kill him for real.
    • Doctor Strange invoked this before he even becomes a sorcerer surviving a brutal car crash which only gravely injures his hands. Still a Career-Ending Injury since Strange was an acclaimed surgeon.
    • Black Panther is stabbed and thrown off a waterfall by Killmonger, and is still alive when fishermen find him much later. Worth noting T'challa was Brought Down to Normal before his duel with Killmonger, it's likely due to Wakandain spiritualism that he is only "mostly dead" to speak.
    • Thanos, Greater-Scope Villain plus Hero Killer of Avengers: Infinity War, is virtually impossible to kill and only becomes more so as the movie goes on. Iron Man dropping a building sized massive pillar on him? Shrugs it off. Starlord's bombs and Dr Strange's magic? Barely fazes him. Not even Thor's super "Stormbreaker" axe could kill him and he pulled it out of his chest like it was a rose thorn.
    • In Avengers: Endgame Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, War Machine and Rocket Raccoon invoke this when Thanos's starship the Sanctuary II nukes the Avengers Facility with a barrage of super missiles completely destroying the homebase as well the surrounding terrain... and yet all the heroes are still alive. Though some albeit trapped under rubble, but considering certain Avengers e.g Ant-Man got hit with explosions from point blank range, it’s still a miracle any of them (save maybe Hulk and Thor) are still in one piece.
    • In Spider-Man: Far From Home Spidey survives getting cleaned up by a high-speed rather rail something that would've killed most other Avengers yet the worst Peter gets from it is a few scars and a limp. Spider-Man does have Super-Toughness but it makes you wonder why his previous movie had falling off the Washington Monument as a potential danger when it's comparatively tame compared to getting run over at 124 mph.
  • In Serenity, River seals herself away inside a room full of Reavers to protect her fellow crew members. Since she's locked herself up with a hundred of the killer Ax-Crazy space pirates, the rest of the shocked and wounded crew are left apparently believing she's dead. Then the doors open, and she's waist-deep in enemy dead.
  • Hellboy has the Nazi clockwork assassin dropped into a pit of spikes, but he is still twitching even after having been impaled. So Hellboy drops a... cog? on him, burying him. If he's still alive, we don't know.
  • Subverted in Apocalypto, where Jaguar Paw jumps off a high waterfall and Zero Wolf orders the Holcane warriors after him rather than assume he's dead. The way the scene is set up really suggests the screenwriter anticipated this trope.
  • John Carpenter's original Halloween (1978) ends with Michael Myers taking multiple gunshots to the chest from Dr. Loomis, then falling from a second-story balcony. When Loomis makes it to the window and looks out, Michael's body has vanished. Throughout the rest of the franchise, Michael repeatedly survives being shot, stabbed, set on fire, blown up, electrocuted... it's not for nothing that Loomis and later Laurie insist that Michael isn't actually human.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (which is based on The Final Problem) Holmes jumps off a waterfall, taking Moriarty with him. Due to the torrent of water never finding the bodies wasn't to be unexpected and (in the books at least) Moriarty was killed.
  • Played for laughs in The Blues Brothers. Carrie Fisher's character (who is never given a name), tries several different times to kill Jake. She uses a missile to blow up the building where he (and his brother) live, bringing the whole building down on them. They just arise from the pile of bricks, brush themselves off, and continue on their "mission from God". Later on, she fires a flame thrower at them while they're in a phone booth next to a propane tank, blowing them up into the air. When they land, the phone breaks and they pick up the change. The justification (not directly stated by rather heavily implied) is that since they are on a "mission from God" they have His divine protection too.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, the Decepticon Pretender Alice is ran over by a car and both appears and is assumed to be smashed beyond repair. However, in the IDW comics, it becomes very apparent that this is not in fact the case.
  • Played for laughs in George of the Jungle. The villain shakes a bridge and one of the guides fall off, plunging a long way down. He shows up in the next scene with a few bandaids. The narrator explains that no one dies in this movie, they just get big boo-boos. Also George is later shot protecting Ursala, but survives. The narrator explains this time that George would never die, after all ... he IS the hero!
  • James Bond:
    • Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker survives everything thrown at him over and over: falling without a parachute, crashing with an uncontrolled cable car, falling over a waterfall, etc.
    • In The Living Daylights, General Georgi Koskov survives a head-on collision with a plane which is followed by a massive explosion, yet he climbs out of the Jeep he drove with only some minor burn scars on his face. He's implied to have been executed offscreen when he was captured by Pushkin at Whitaker's mansion however.
    • In GoldenEye, Alec Trevelyan falls hundreds of yards from the top of a satellite dish but then is seen writhing about on the ground below immediately afterwards. He only dies when the dish falls on top of him.
    • In Spectre, Bond takes this view of Oberhauser. He refers to him as the "recently deceased leader of Spectre" when talking to M, after the attack on the Morocco base.
      • Bond himself often incite this from the villains as not even all the bullet, bombs, falling planes, death traps, and exploding bases in world can put 007 down. Skyfall is probably the most egregious example as Bond is shot in the chest and falls off a speeding train into water... Bond is labeled as dead by MI6 despite actually being alive and recovering in Turkey. Bond himself lampshades this trope when asked what his hobby is: "Resurrection".
  • The Thing (1982). When MacReady is cut loose from his cable in the storm (1982 movie), and the two American pilots stagger back to base after a helicopter crash (2011 movie) their survival. Fans use it as proof that they must no longer be human.
  • The villains in Dredd are smart enough not to assume this even after using three gatling guns to turn an entire floor of their apartment complex into absolute swiss cheese. The Dragon tells his men the Judges aren't dead until they see the bodies...or parts of them.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness. After watching the Big Bad kamikaze an entire starship into Starfleet HQ this trope is given. Spock says only, "He could."
  • While Indiana Jones is Made of Iron and survived a few borderline impossible situations (hitching a ride on a Nazi submarine without drowning, escaping a crashing plane in an inflatable raft, jumping out of an out-of-control tank heading towards a cliff) our page image comes from one that borders in Refuge in Audacity: in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indy is in a location near a ground zero nuclear test facility, so he dumps the contents of a refrigerator on the floor, and gets inside it just in time to prevent being incinerated by the blast. Supposedly, it was because the refrigerator was lead-lined.
  • At the end of Hulk, General Ross calls up his daughter and says they both know there's no way that Bruce Banner could have survived a direct hit from a nuclear weapon, but if he did happen to contact her, would she tip off the authorities? Betty says she wouldn't, but then says it's a moot point as she knows her father's men have her under surveillance just in case.
  • In Pacific Rim, Hannibal Chau says this when Otachi Jr. reaches the limit of its possible endurance, stating several ways that he knows it has to be dead. He should be right, but he isn't. Then he himself becomes an instance of this, surviving being eaten.
  • In The Stinger for Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022), Commander Walters dismisses Robotnik's chances of having survived the collapse of his Death Egg Robot. However, the presence of Agent Stone — who was also last seen onboard the robot — hiding among the G.U.N. soldiers indicates there's at least a possibility that Robotnik survived.
  • Nope: When Angel watches the TMZ reporter fly off his motorcycle at sixty miles an hour, he says there's no way he survived, right before the reporter starts screaming in pain.


  • Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium:
    • At one point played straight and then inverted, Cain is forced to leave four of his squadmates for dead as he escapes a genestealer horde. A short time later he gets cornered by the genestealers, when who should show up to rescue him but two of the four people he had abandoned. Apparently, they only got away because of Jurgen's rare power as a "psychic blank" screwing with the tyranid Hive Mind. A few scenes after that, they encounter the other two, who also said they had escaped the genestealers, although they only vaguely recalled how, and then Cain shoots them because he could tell that the stealers had implanted both of them.
    • Nearly once a book (and sometimes more than once a book), Cain is assumed dead only to reappear and save the day. According to Amberly's footnotes, eventually the Administratum got so tired of the bureaucratic headaches caused by repeatedly taking him on and off the "Killed in Action" list that they issued a special injunction that he was not to be considered dead under any circumstances. Because of this, by the time Amberly is editing his memoirs Cain is the only trooper to still be receiving a steady paycheck despite having died peacefully at age two hundred and received a state funeral with full military honors.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Subverted in the novel Sacrifice. Lumiya starts falling off a ledge during her duel with Luke Skywalker; he grabs her hand, says "I'd never let you fall", and decapitates her. Done straight earlier, with Mara Jade (in a Mama Bear/quasi Unstoppable Rage moment) stabbing Lumiya, only to be tripped and throttled by a sentient Sith ship and see Lumiya escape in it (both ladies end up severely injured, by the way).
    • Boba Fett has also escaped the Sarlaac pit in at least one short story.
    • Said almost word for word in Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi. "I saw him fall. No one could have survived that." Hoole is skeptical. Sure, the bad guy was badly injured before he fell and changing forms ineffectually, but he was still a shapeshifter. Indeed, the last lines of the book feature a Finger-Twitching Revival and Eye Awaken.
  • In the novel Dune, Paul Atreides and his mother are able to escape their hated enemies by piloting an aircraft into a sandstorm which has winds of 400 mph. The main villain is told that they "are certainly dead"; naturally, with their superhuman reflexes, they are able not only to flee but also to build an army on a practically uninhabitable desert planet described as being able to conquer the galaxy. To be fair to the Baron Harkonnen, he immediately smacks his minion in the mouth for doing something so stupid as to assume his enemies are dead without actually seeing their bodies, and then sends his forces back out to find the bodies. Naturally, they don't. But he did at least try!
    • This trope is discussed by Lady Fenring who brings up a Bene Gesserit saying: "Do not count a human dead until you see the body. And even then you can make a mistake."
    • Paul also appeared dead at the end of the second book after he walked blind and alone into the desert. His men refused to search for him because of their old tradition. Sure enough, he survived.
  • In Matthew Reilly's books, Anyone Can Die. Gena "Mother" Newman of the Shane Schofield series appears to die once per book but always manages to survive. After the third time, she declares herself "f*** ing indestructible". The protagonist in each of Reilly's books always goes through this (at least) once per book.
  • Two examples from Animorphs:
    • In the main series, Visser One is like this. Her respective appearances in The Escape and The Reunion end with her drowning miles underwater and falling off a cliff, respectively. Yet both times she somehow survives and returns.
    • In the prequel Chronicles books Visser Three is revealed to be this way. While the Big Bad of the main series, in these books he is still rising to power and is much more cautious and capable than his mainstream counterpart. He survives leaving his host and being marooned on the Hork-Bajir world in the Hork-Bajir Chronicles and multiple near-death experiences in The Andalite Chronicles.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Avada Kedavra spell Lord Voldemort tried to kill Harry with hit him instead. We learn in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that no one (aside from Harry himself) had ever survived being hit with Avada Kedavra. His followers certainly seemed to think this, as many (though not all) of them didn't bother to search for him, instead opting to lead lives of lesser evil. Subverted slightly as Voldemort actually was, for all intents and purposes, dead. He managed to cling to life as some sort of spirit, and would eventually return to his body in The Goblet of Fire.
    • Subverted in Deathly Hallows. When Voldemort finally does manage to kill Harry, but Harry survives again, Voldemort is careful enough not to assume this, even in the case of Avada Kedavra. So he sends someone to check he's been Killed Off for Real. Unfortunately he chooses Narcissa Malfoy, who's only concerned about whether Draco's safe and doesn't care that Harry's still around, so she lies to Voldemort.
  • Subverted in Catch-22. Doc Daneeka doesn't like flying but is required to fly a certain number of hours so he gets people to put his name on the flight manifest. One of these flights he's not on crashes killing everyone on board and everyone refuses to believe he's alive after that despite his protestations to the contrary.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Pippin kills a large troll, only to be squashed under it when it goes down. Pippin did actually die, but C. S. Lewis complained to Tolkien that he couldn't kill him off, and Tolkien ended up letting Gimli save the Hobbit.
  • In The Lost Redeemer, Nahlia survives several dangerous situations that would have been lethal for most people. Most notably taking a bullet in the chest, then falling into a river from dozens of feet up. Justified due to her healing abilities.
  • Discworld:
    • In any book where he appears, Rincewind can survive against impossible odds (like falling off the Disc, facing the Sourcerer, and going through Dungeon Dimensions AND Hell). Being the favourite (favourite plaything, at least) of Lady Luck does help.
    • Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde couldn't have possibly survived the ending of The Last Hero. And so they presumably didn't. And do they care?
      • In fact, the supporting characters discuss this trope in brief right after it happens. One even starts theorizing how they could have survived. In the end, it turns out they are dead. So they mug the Valkyries sent to collect them and steal their horses.
  • Lampshaded by Denth in Warbreaker, as demonstrated by the page quote. Considering how long they've known each other (Vasher and Denth are both part of the Five Scholars, a group who have known one another for literally hundreds of years), he has almost certainly literally seen him survive worse. The person they're talking about used magic to slow his fall if you're wondering.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Sanguinius, Sachiel gloats after hearing that Rafen was caught in an exploding factory, telling him he's dead. When Rafen appears alive, he sputters that it was impossible, he could not have survived.
  • In the seventh book of The Wheel of Time, the main character has a villain at his mercy: the fellow is trapped between a semi-sentient Death Gas on one side and Rand is shooting Deader than Dead-causing Death Ray beams down the other. Rand lets up before actually hitting the villain, sure of the death. At this point, author Robert Jordan discovered the problem with overusing Chekhov's Army: Sammael was meant to be dead, but because they Never Found the Body, the fandom began to insist He's Just Hiding. RJ had to have a fellow villain Joss the idea before readers would move on.
    • The same thing is happening in the fanbase after book twelve, in which Graendal essentially dies off-screen. Despite clear evidence that she is dead, fans are not so sure.
      • Book 13 reveals that she actually did survive, playing this trope straight
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Dead and Gone, after an ambush on Burke goes wrong because of Big Damn Heroes, the attackers put a round into the victim's head. Somehow it doesn't take.
  • One character in Codex Alera gets shot by a ballast bolt with two different poisons on the head that goes all the way through her body. Healers try to help her, but she's declared to have died minutes later and is taken from the morgue. But when the guy who shot her goes to make sure... Turns out she was fatally injured, but she managed to use Healing Hands to hold herself together long enough to drag herself out of the camp, then was found by the Vord Queen, who put her on parasitic life-support.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Flight Of The Old Dog, no attempt is made to look for Dave Luger after he crashes a fuel tanker into a Soviet vehicle in a Heroic Sacrifice due to the ensuing explosion. Understandably, the characters are surprised when Night of the Hawk reveals that he's Not Quite Dead.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, Nullus assures Voldorius that no one could have survived the exploding refinery.
  • In Scorpia Rising, a prison guard says this nearly word-for-word after an escaping inmate drives a jeep off a cliff which then explodes and falls into the ocean. And they Never Found the Body either.
  • The Last Full Measure covers the Second Battle of Petersburg, where Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is shot through the hips. At the time, a wound like that was considered mortal by default, and Generals Warren and Grant rushed through a Field Promotion for him (additionally, though left out of the book, Maine newspapers printed Chamberlain's obituary). Chamberlain not only survives, but he is also able to return to active field duty, albeit after a lengthy hospital stay. It should be noted that those wounds did kill him - in 1914.
  • What practically every vampyre says about Zoey's Heroic BSoD in Burned (2010). So naturally, we all know what's going to happen by the end of the next book...
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception, Opal Koboi sets up a death-trap for Holly and Artemis that involves feeding them to a pack of wild trolls, and sets up a video-feed so she can watch their demise for her amusement, only for the video to short out moments before the trolls stampede over them. Her two henchmen assume their is no chance that they survived, but Opal is savvy enough to proceed with her plan as though they are still alive and actively hunting her down. This turns out to be the correct course of action.
  • In The Shadow Throne, Imogen takes an arrow through the chest that was intended for Sage/Jaron. She turns up roughly 5 chapters before the end of the book, having recovered in full. Even she seemed confused at her survival.
  • In The Licanius Trilogy, Thell sees Asha fall off a very high bridge into a churning river after having her spine broken. Breshada jumps after her to save her, but he immediately writes them both off for dead. He's flabbergasted when they both reappear a while later without a scratch.
  • The Martian has this as its premise. When the Mars expedition is forced to evacuate due to severe weather, astronaut Mark Watney gets hit head-on by a satellite transceiver array that's just detached from the mission habitat and has one of its struts punch straight through his spacesuit... and himself. The mission commander wanted to go back and search for him, but one of the others all but said the trope word-for-word and she reluctantly ordered them to evacuate. It almost goes without saying, but Watney did survive, a fact that even he was rather surprised about.
  • Magic isn't supposed to be able to save you from vacuum if you're Thrown Out the Airlock, but Damien from Starship's Mage is no ordinary mage. When he and Grace are cast into deep space by an explosion, he manages to create an impermeable shield to hold their breathable air, while Grace (also a mage) cycles carbon dioxide into oxygen.
  • In Warrior Cats, Jayfeather and Lionblaze assume that nobody could have survived the tunnel collapsing on them when it happens to Hollyleaf, so they don't even bother looking for her body. (They're wrong.)
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • This is basically Kaladins signature move. He consistently ends up in situations where he should obviously die and everyone else around him does, but he somehow survives, which he has a very hard time dealing with. After he survives being strung up in a highstorm, the rest of Bridge Four recognize this as well. Something will happen, Kaladin will go missing, and everyone else will assume he's dead. Bridge Four to a man isn't even slightly concerned about it, assuring them that Kaladin is fine and will turn up eventually. They haven't been wrong yet.
    • Shallan lampshade this late in the Words of Radiance when a side character worries about her walking too close to an unguarded ledge. Shallan reminds him that, due to being a Radiant, she would likely survive without a scratch, considering she had already survived a fall into the chasms that certainly should have killed her.
  • Andrzej Kmicic in The Deluge has a curious tendency to get almost mortally wounded in duels and battles, upon which his opponent leaves, convinced Kmicic is pretty much dead. He's not. He always comes back to fight some more.
  • The Vazula Chronicles: At the end of A Kingdom Submerged, the mermaid Merletta drags herself well past the water line onto the beach with the injured human Heath, sacrificing herself to save him, or so she thinks. Ileana, who tried to kill both of them, swims back to the triple kingdoms, secure in the knowledge that Merletta will soon dry out and die. It turns out drying out doesn't kill mermaids, but temporarily transforms them into humans. Merletta spends the next month hiding out on Vazula before returning to the triple kingdoms, where Ileana stares at her in shock and horror.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Used word-for-word by Chloe in the 6AM-7AM hour of the last season, after a desperate villain drives his SUV off the top floor of a parking structure. In a subversion, the driver actually does fail to survive that.
    • On the other hand, Ike Dubaku completely survives being blown up by a landmine that takes out both his men and Jack's friend Carl Benton.
  • Big Smith, in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., falls a loooooong way from a train, and shows up in a later episode, alive. Handwaved by him falling out carrying the artifact.
  • Awaken: A burning building collapses with Jung-woo inside. Everyone assumes he's dead. Of course he survived.
  • Babylon 5: Sheridan's plunge of hundreds of feet into a pit on Z'ha'dum, with megatons of nuclear blast exploding right on top of him. But technically, he did die, but got better. He just needed to find a reason to live.
  • Subverted with Gus at the end of the fourth season of Breaking Bad. He gets hit with a bomb in the finale, but then walks out seconds later apparently unharmed. Then the camera pans the other side of his face and it's revealed that half of it's been blown off, and seconds after that he lifelessly drops to the ground.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Drusilla was supposedly killed by an angry mob in Prague. Buffy notes they don't make angry mobs like they used to.
  • Larry, the former Evil Mentor of main character Michael Weston in Burn Notice, faked his death by walking into an oil refinery just before it exploded. (The first time he reappeared afterward Michael quipped that it must have been Larry's way of taking early retirement.) Now he's a professional assassin who will kill (almost) anybody for a living with a smile on his face, and he keeps finding ways to come back from situations that look really bad for him. A long time Running Gag of the show is having subtitles show up around characters that give an idea of who they are and what role they play, with those subtitles often having a humorous element to them. The ones for Larry started calling him things like "the spy with nine lives" and "undead spy" as a result of his refusal to die.
    • Midway through Season 5, this happened to him again, due to a bomb set by Fiona... and magnified by new Big Bad Anson. Despite a bomb going off directly in front of his face with only a second to get any cover, fans of the show were absolutely shocked that his only appearance afterward was in a flashback, despite a rather subtle clue that he survived.
  • Chernobyl has Valery Legasov ask Gorbachev to authorize sending three power plant technicians to drain the flooded basement before the lava-like corium can generate a steam explosion by saying "We're asking your permission to kill three men." The three volunteers—Alexi Annanenko, Valeri Bezpalov, and Boris Baranov—don't expect to survive their mission into the irradiated water. However, the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue confirms that in spite of widespread reporting that they had died, all three of them survived into the 20th century. (Baranov died in 2005, but the other two have made it into the 2020s.)
  • In CSI: NY, the Season 6 Big Bad Shane Casey survives falling off a lighthouse and, having it stated that he must be dead, later turns up to torment Lindsay and Danny in the cliffhanger. However, he doesn't survive Lindsay shooting him..
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks" makes use of the "nothing human" variant for exposition. After an explosion apparently leaves a Dalek (who has not yet been seen) buried in rubble, a soldier remarks that "nothing even remotely human could have survived that"; the Doctor just has time to point out that their enemy is not even remotely human before the Dalek reveals itself by gliding out of the rubble unscathed.
    • The Doctor also frequently claims that the Master couldn't have survived being Hoist by His Own Petard.
    • "The Sontaran Stratagem" averts it. The Sontarans initially think the Doctor has been killed by a death trap, but when they get proof he's still alive, they accept it without question. After all, as long-standing foes of his, they know how hard it is to kill him.
  • Though Firefly was canceled before it could implement this, Mal refers to Jubal Early's chances survival as one in " a very large number." This is further supported by the fact that after River leaves Early's ship, the ship is shown clearly turning and moving away, apparently to find Early. It does get implemented in the comics, at least twice.
  • Goodbye My Princess: Everyone assumes Gu Jian is dead after he was stabbed and fell off a cliff. He isn't.
  • Played with in the Hancock's Half Hour episode "The Bowmans", in which Hancock plays a radio soap actor. After surviving an attempt by his fellow actors to kill off his character he demands script privileges and takes his revenge by writing a scene where the characters of the actors who tried to depose him all fall down a disused mine shaft. When the only other surviving character asks Hancock's whether they should look for survivors Hancock insists that the others couldn't have survived and suggests filling in the mine.
  • Heroes:
    • During the season 3 half-finale, Sylar is taken down with a piece of glass in the back of the neck, which inhibits his Healing Factor. The building goes up in a massive fireball, and as of the half-season premiere, some of those people who were present are assuming he's dead, even reassuring each other that he couldn't have survived it. This is ignoring that the very thing that would let him die would have melted in the fire letting him get out safely. Subverted with Meridith, who was the cause of the fire. She's Killed Off for Real as far as we know. She's immune to fire, but not rubble falling on her head. Her brother, Flint, apparently got out of the fire in his building alive though. Only to be shot in the head in the comics.
    • Happened to Claude in a flashback during "Company Man" in Season 1 when HRG shoots him on a bridge and he starts to fall, but becomes invisible as he does so, so we never see him hit the ground.
    • Sylar's a poster boy for this trope. He survived (in this order) being shot, falling from the grandstands, being shot, and being impaled on a sword. In season 1. Partly justified the first 3 occasions with him using telekinesis to keep from being fatally hurt - though he must have been VERY skilled at it, and very focused. The last time in Volume One, we saw a trail of blood leading to a manhole, though this was justified by having someone ELSE carry him away instead of him CRAWLING into a manhole. On the other hand, the character was actually MEANT to be killed off here before fan popularity spared him. Now he has Contractual Immortality.
  • Kingdom Adventure: Pokum and Keena manage to evade Dagger, Pitts, Napps, and Gorf in the Dark Wood after witnessing them killing the Prince. Despite the fact that Zordock ordered them to Leave No Witnesses, they realize that the Dark Wood is so dangerous that those two kids aren't likely to make it out alive, so they give up the chase.
  • Mikhael on Lost was thought to be killed by a sonic fence, and later a harpoon, but survived anyway. Then, he ended up killing both himself and Charlie with a grenade underwater.
  • MacGyver: The villain Murdoc had at least five of these, including a fall down a mine shaft, a nosedive off a cliff, being electrocuted then falling into a deep pool of water, being blown up by dynamite and having a skyscraper dropped on him. Invariably, he would shout "MACGYVER!" when he met his apparent doom, and someone would afterward remark that he could not possibly have survived (quite reasonable in all cases). But he would nevertheless return, without explanation beyond the fact that they Never Found the Body.
    • Averted in the episode "Obsession" when it's revealed they did find a body. Murdoc later explains it was the remains of an unfortunate fisherman.
    • Also lampshaded to the nth degree in the same episode. MacGyver repeatedly insists Murdoc is alive, pointing to all the other times they thought he was dead until he turned up again. Naturally, after everyone is sure MacGyver's gone off the deep end, he is proven right when Murdoc shows up.
  • In the Madam Secretary episode "Another Benghazi", said more or less word-for-word by a US Special Forces operator responding to the bombing of the US embassy in San'a, Yemen. Specifically, they believe Ambassador Wellington died. Fortunately, it turns out the Private Military Contractors that Secretary McCord had hired to protect him earlier in the episode had pulled him out in time.
  • Mayday:
    • "Gimli Glider" was about a Boeing 767 that ran out of fuel over Canada because of improper calculations involving pounds vs kilograms. The pilot managed to miraculously pull off a dead stick landing that couldn't be replicated by any subsequent pilot that attempted the scenario in a simulator. The pilots in the simulated flight always ended up crashing the plane.
      • It should be noted that the pilot who landed the plane was an accomplished glider pilot and was probably the only person who was able to safely land the plane in the company!
    • "Falling from the Sky" concerns a British jumbo jet that saw all four of its engines fail after accidentally flying into a cloud of volcanic ash over Indonesia. After managing to restart the engines, the flight crew managed to land the plane despite the windscreen having been sandblasted opaque, relying entirely on instruments.
    • "Blow Out" concerns a captain who was partially sucked out of his own cockpit thanks to faulty maintenance of the windscreen, his body subsequently subjected to a freezing 500mph slipstream over 17,000 feet above England. Despite overwhelming physical odds, the captain survived the ordeal with only frostbite and a few bone fractures. And he continues to fly.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Roger Corman film Night of the Blood Beast, featured in an episode, unintentionally played with this. Two of the ensemble cast chase the eponymous monster into the clearing where the rocket he's presumed to have hitched a ride to earth crashed, and the beast is nowhere to be seen. Both men fire their "berry pistols" into the rocket without looking inside first.
    Steve: Nothing could survive that!
    Mike: And we know for sure it was in there!
  • Power Rangers:
    • In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, after developing the V-Lancers to use against the evil Titanium Ranger, they nail him with a combined blast that by rights should have killed him. He comes back, and hence Carter's quote:
      Carter: I don't believe it! He's coming back! Nothing could have survived that!
    • At the beginning of Power Rangers Zeo, the rangers found the Zeo Crystal, which clued them to the fact Rito and Goldar were caught at the explosion they caused at the end of Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers. Despite the fact their bodies had never been found, Adam Park wrongly concluded there was no way they could have survived.
  • In Smallville, many of the main characters have survived the impossible so many times it isn't even funny.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • At one point Sam reminds Jack that Daniel has been missing and was last known to be on an exploding starship... shouldn't they say some words or something? Jack remembers all the times they thought him dead before and refuses to "hold a memorial service for someone who isn't dead", saying he'll probably turn up any minute. He even yells out, "Ya hear that? I'm not buyin' it!" This being Daniel "Back from the Dead Again" Jackson, Jack is right... he was on the exploding ship, but turns up again anyway. Hilariously.
    • Their recurring enemy Apophis was also a master of this trope. After the last time, when he was last seen on a starship crashing into a planet at relativistic speeds, O'Neill declared he was "100 percent... [Beat] ...99 percent sure" he was really dead.
  • The Borg Queen, of Star Trek fame, loves this trope. Star Trek: First Contact actually retconned her right off the bat into having been on an early Cube when it was destroyed, but surviving (she tells Picard that "You think in such three-dimensional terms"). It looks like she's had it when Picard breaks her spine at the end of the movie, but she went on to have a healthy career in Star Trek: Voyager, which found her in three more deep-space explosions, one of which she herself initiated. (The jury's still out on whether or not she survived the Grand Finale, where she seemed to actually die on-camera before everything exploded.)
    • This is likely explainable by assuming the Borg Queen does "die," or rather, get destroyed each time. She seems to be assembled at the start of each of her appearances so each one may be a newly constructed queen, likely with a download of the previous one's memories. Hence, thinking in such three-dimensional terms.
      • Given that the Borg Queen is the personification of an enormous Hive Mind, it stands to reason that she cannot be "killed" so long as the Collective still exists. The destruction of her physical body would, then, hardly even count as a minor setback.
      • Or - and here's a crazy idea - there's just more than one.
      • The expanded universe novels go with the explanation that any cube can grow a queen whenever it's needed.
  • Also in Star Trek: Voyager's episode "Waking Moments", after Janeway walks out of engineering right after a supposed warp core breach:
    Janeway: Either I've become impervious to antimatter explosions... or we're still dreaming.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, E22), Jake has no idea how Sam is still alive.
    Jake: Wait... you were dead. I killed you.
    Sam: Yeah? Well next time, finish the job.
    Jake: I did! I cut clean through your spinal cord, man.
  • Torchwood:
    • Captain Jack has this happen to him a lot. He's been shot, electrocuted, and had the life drained out of him, only to keep coming back.
    • This eventually leads to orders to have his corpse captured and held under guard, much to the confusion of the mooks. They eventually encase him in concrete, but his team breaks him out.
    • To be fair, he doesn't "survive" any of this - he just comes right back to life again.
  • Van Helsing (2016): In one episode, Sam flees a fight with Vanessa by leaping out a third story window, and by the time Vanessa and Julius reach the ground floor, he's disappeared. Julius, being a former vampire himself and thus aware of their limits, notes in disbelief that even a vampire shouldn't be able to survive a fall like that unscathed. Probably justified by the later reveal that Sam is a potential Elder.
  • Dr. Loveless from The Wild Wild West would typically suffer similar fates (most notably in "The Night of the Murderous Spring" when he, Antoinette and their friend - none of whom, by their own admission, can swim - sink into the Gilligan's Island lagoon thanks to Jim shooting holes in their boat), only to show up in a new episode perfectly hale and healthy, with a one-liner at the ready when James West would invariably ask him how he avoided almost certain death in the last episode.
  • In The Wire season 5, Omar escapes from a shootout by jumping off a 4th-floor balcony. He breaks his leg but is otherwise unharmed. There is never given any explanation to his miraculous survival.
    Marlo: Don't seem possible.
    Chris: It don't.
    Marlo: That some Spider-Man shit right there.
This was actually based off of a real-life event that happened to the person Omar Little was based on, Donnie Andrews. Andrews actually jumped from the sixth floor.
  • Early in season 5 of The X-Files, the Cigarette-Smoking Man is shot by a sniper. Although his body is not found, it's stated that enough blood was found at the scene that he was surely fatally wounded. Guess who shows up alive and well twelve episodes later. This is taken Up to Eleven in the original series finale, in which the Smoking Man is caught in a fireball from. A missile strike that reduces him to a skeleton. Fourteen years later, he's back in season 10, with the handwave that he was "badly burned", but not killed.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the most generic sense, the trope as applied here has to do with a wrestler (often a face) enduring tremendous punishment, usually from a feared monster heel, including several finishing moves that are described as devastating. Commentator Jim Ross often made a habit of exclaiming such signature lines as, "By Gawd, he's broken in half! Nobody gets up from that!" only to express surprise when the face somehow manages to kick out of a pinning combination at two following a move that would severely injure or kill a "normal" wrestler (i.e., a jobber), or power out of a devastating submission move.
  • Many such incidents of this trope have somehow involved The Undertaker:
    • One of the most infamous examples was in the "Hell in a Cell Match" with Mick Foley, who was wrestling in his Mankind character, at King of the Ring 1998. The first was the spot where Taker lobbed him off the top of the cell and through the Spanish Announcers' Table, the second was the chokeslam through the roof of the cell to the mat. The first was planned, the second was not; with that chokeslam, Foley ate a good fifteen-foot fall onto the thumbtack-strewn canvas and a folding chair landed on his face. Foley was legitimately knocked out at least twice and color commentator Jerry Lawler legitimately believed that Foley had suffered fatal injuries in the match.
    • As for Undertaker himself, in January 1998 he was sealed in a coffin before heel Paul Bearer and his lackey Kane set the casket on fire, although the trope was averted when – expecting to see a burned corpse – Bearer opened the badly charred casket only to find it empty (he really should have known by then that Taker knows how to escape a locked casket); he'd later learn that Taker had somehow escaped before the casket was set on fire.
  • Others:
    • Mr. McMahon was supposed to have "died" in a limousine explosion in 2007, before eventually leading to a storyline where McMahon is shown to have survived. The storyline arc was aborted upon the real-life death of Chris Benoit and Vince was forced to explain the events surrounding Benoit's death to the TV audience.
  • 10 Ridiculous Things WWE Superstars Survived.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Tyranids of Warhammer 40,000 are so resilient that they can survive (individually, in rare instances) Exterminatus. In other words, not even converting everything on a planet to ash can kill them, as they can just burrow into the bedrock. The lesser Tyranids need to burrow in. Certain variations of the Carnifex have regenerative abilities and bodies that are even more resilient to damage than normal. In the 3rd/4th edition, it mentions on one page that the guys examining a planet that had undergone Exterminatus found what looked like a strange rock formation; it was actually a Carnifex trying to heal the damage it had taken.
  • Spirit of the Century, with its focus on pulp action narrative, allows players to invoke this trope with the Death Defiance stunt. It allows any character who has it to avoid death if it happens "offscreen" (falling off a cliff, failing to escape the collapsing building, etc.) by spending half of their fate points and citing some explanation (including bizarre and improbable coincidences) of how they survived.
  • Extra Life in GURPS is summarized as "No matter how sure your foes were that they killed you, you didn't really die."
  • A vital part of the GM Fiat game mechanic in Mutants & Masterminds. Villains don't die. They undergo a seemingly fatal accident at the last moment, the players get Hero Points for the inconvenience, and then the villains return a few adventures later, seemingly none the worse for the wear.
  • Exalted has Perfect Defences that allow characters to dodge a nuclear explosion at ground zero, deflect a falling mountain using a toothpick, and simply shrug off attacks that ought to not only kill them but retroactively erase their existence from history itself. Naturally, if you don't have a body, it's pretty much guaranteed that they aren't dead.
    • Solars also have a charm that allows them to come back from the dead, not in months or even days, but mere moments, further reinforcing their image as Kung Fu Action Jesus...
    • ... While Lunars have several Charms that allow them to ignore the fact that they should be dead; that, and instant regeneration that makes Wolverine envious, which makes them seriously hard to kill. And then you have Lunar Chimeras, which are capable of perfect regeneration to the point where they can regenerate from a single drop of blood... Yeah.
    • And Sidereals have the aptly named "Duck Fate", which allows them to retroactively change events over the last two minutes such that they could not possibly have been affected by whatever happened.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright is not only lucky in winning trials, but he's also damn lucky in surviving. In the final case of Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix attempts to cross a burning bridge, which breaks apart, causing him to fall 40 feet below into a fast-flowing river. If that didn't kill him, the freezing cold water (since it was winter at the time) would have, right? WRONG! Phoenix gets away with only a few bruises and a nasty cold. Also, in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Phoenix gets hit by a car, goes flying 30 feet into the air and smacks his head into a telephone pole. Crazily enough, his head is fine and he only suffers a sprained ankle!
    • The case before this is an even more consequential example. In a flashback, Mia Fey defends a death row convict who had previously been found guilty of pushing his girlfriend off the bridge and into the deadly river below. The exact same bridge and river, in fact. Until late in the current trial, it is considered unthinkable that the woman could have survived, let alone might have jumped on purpose... or could in fact be in the courtroom right now.
    • There's also Maggey Byrde, an impossibly unlucky young woman who managed to survive after falling off the ninth floor of an apartment building, when she was an infant. Seriously, even if her fall was somehow softened by some things, it's still impossibly unlikely that she would survive falling from that high at such a young age.
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown: In the penultimate mission, Princess Cosette parachutes off the Lighthouse in the middle of an air battle, only to be caught in the blast of a guided missile hitting a plane barely 10 meters away from her. Instead of having her body and her parachute riddled with shrapnel and despite losing her helmet, she somehow manages to land safely off-screen and, within a few hours, recovers enough to transmit crucial intelligence to the Osean pilots returning to the Lighthouse for the Final Battle.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: During the roofhopping segment at Noctis City, Ann chases Loki onto the top of an abandoned building, who brings out a Mini-Mecha to take her on. After a brief struggle, the top of the building collapses and brings the other floors down, and in spite of that, Ann makes it through without any injuries.
  • Army of Two winds up using this for the central premise of the money-making objectives of the last level. Philip Clyde is on the wrong end of a grenade explosion that rips a cargo plane in two, and free-falls to the flooded Miami streets. Guess who the last boss pre-expansions is?
  • BattleTech: In the Justified Tutorial, Lady Kamea Arano is overthrown in a Military Coup on the day of her coronation as monarch of the Aurigan Coalition. Despite the Player Character's best efforts, her loyal bodyguard Raju "Mastiff" Montgomery is killed in a Last Stand to cover her escape, and Arano's DropShip is shown on news broadcasts being shot down on takeoff. Except, she's narrating the Framing Device. She got offworld just fine; her uncle's propagandists faked the video. Mastiff survived too but dies in a Hellhole Prison shortly before you and Kamea liberate it.
  • Averted in Breath of Fire IV: Yohm traps Fou-Lu on a bridge of a giant drop, and watches the God-lad plummet "to his death". Being a smart man, Yohm immediately orders his troops "We take no chances. I want his body found."
  • Kane from the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series. He is blasted by an Ion Cannon in the first game, run through and left in Temple Prime as it explodes in the second, is shot directly by Colonel James but gets up a few seconds later to rescue the protagonist from James in the fourth, and is in Eastern Europe when it explodes (yes, the entirety of Eastern Europe explodes). The guy is clearly immortal.
  • Counter-Strike: Anyone who's played the game for a decent amount of time gets quite annoyed when they fire at the head of an opponent from long range with the AK47 only to see the guy at the other end not fall/fly backwards, assuming they've missed. Eventually, they'll find out that they actually did hit... for 99 damage. Thankfully this is very long-range only, rare to begin with, and easily rectified by just hitting one more shot or just getting a grenade close enough.
  • Dead Space 2 has an example which spans both the single player and multiplayer campaigns. When playing as the Sprawl Security Forces in the multi-player, the engineers can attempt a mission in which they send firing coordinates to the solar array. The fire mission being depicted is actually the one ordered by Tiedemann at the end of Chapter 9 of the single-player campaign. If the engineers succeed in their mission, thus enabling the energy beam attack which cuts the Sprawl in two, one engineer can be heard to say "The Array is firing. He can't survive that," referring to protagonist Isaac Clarke at whom the attack is directed. Naturally, Isaac survives.
  • In 007: From Russia with Love, a rather egregious example is displayed with Red Grant, a killer hired by the terrorist organization Octopus. After a boss fight where Bond delivers copious quantities of lead, Mr. Grant falls to a nearby set of train tracks, mere seconds before a train shows up at full speed. But when Bond infiltrates Octopus's lair during the last mission, who is the final boss Why, Mr. Grant, of course, sneering at Bond: "You should have made sure I was dead!"
  • Dragon Quest III: In the backstory, Ortega's journey was cut short when he was pulled into a volcano by a dragon he slew. He shows up alive later, though.
  • Fallout:
    • Colonel Autumn pulls this in Fallout 3 to a bullshit extreme. The Water Purifer releases deadly radiation when activated. This is enough to kill two guards in radiation-resistant power armor, your dad and liquefy you (unless you have Broken Steel), but not one man in a longcoat. While you see him die, his "death" animation shows him injecting himself with something that supposedly protected him, but you'll never get to use this miracle drug.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
    • The player's character starts out by surviving two bullets to the head and being Buried Alive.
    • The original Legate (field commander) of Caesar's Legion, Joshua Graham had been reported dead five times by New California Republic rangers and sharpshooters, but he survived until he lost the Battle of Hoover Dam, when Caesar ordered him covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown into the Grand Canyon. Rumors persist that he lives on as "The Burned Man," which are proven true by the Honest Hearts expansion.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IV has multiple examples, which all appear to be Plotline Death until the characters show up alive later on. They may be injured, but no explanation is given as to how they survived at all. Only one playable character is actually Killed Off for Real.
      • The most egregious example is Cid, who leaps from a speeding airship hundreds of feet (at least) above the ground. He then sets off a bomb powerful enough to collapse a mountain. Which it does. On top of him. Oh, and the bomb is in his hand at the time.
      • Yang isn't much better; it's implied that he stops a city-destroying super-cannon by stuffing himself in the barrel and causing it to misfire.
      • Later on, the party fights and defeats Golbez just as he's about to steal a Crystal. After the fight, the party, containing at least two highly-trained, experienced soldiers, decide to leave the room without checking to see if he's actually dead. Guess what happens next.
    • The first half of Final Fantasy VI concludes with the entire party packed into an airship and fleeing from a newly divine Omnicidal Maniac. It doesn't go well, and the airship gets sliced in half and falls to Earth from a height of thousands of feet. It initially looks like a subversion, as the viewpoint shifts to a character who spent a year in a coma after the crash, and when she finally wakes up assumes that she was the only survivor. It takes about half an hour to discover otherwise.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Rufus Shinra was killed off while having him trapped in a building which was then blown up - this was played entirely as a Killed Off for Real scenario. But, to resurrect him for The Movie, he turned out to be a victim of this trope instead. It was salvaged by a subtle and very good Lampshade Hanging - Rufus starts to explain to Cloud how he survived, and Cloud cuts him off before he can, leaving it a mystery until Dirge of Cerberus, where it is revealed in a flashback that he was rescued and put on a helicopter.
      • Cloud himself is an inhuman punching bag. He survives the fall from the platform outside a Mako reactor (plummeting hundreds of feet before landing on the church Aeris frequents), is impaled right through by a massive katana, drops into the planet's "lifestream" and resurfaces hundreds of miles away, and undergoes multiple bouts of psychological trauma. And he gets hit on by a mafia pimp.
      • Zack ends up skydiving in the same way, and lands in the same flowers, and survives just fine.
      • Sephiroth getting run through by Cloud and thrown into the Mako reactor only to come back stronger. Sephiroth, at least, has the excuse that he's not completely human (and for that matter, the Sephiroth you fight for most of the game isn't the actual Sephiroth).
    • Final Fantasy VIII:
      • Judging by the cutscene, the party gets practically nuked at the Galbadia Missile Base. Somehow they walk away from it just fine. Then, they come back with the wrecked carcass of the robot boss of the base as both shield and escape tool.
      • Squall gets an ice shard put through his torso and wakes up fine. This recovery is so unexplained it gave way a fan theory that he died right there. Yoshinori Kitase liked the theory so much he said he'd based the whole game around it if FFVIII ever got a remake.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: It's assumed that the Black Knight was killed in Path of Radiance when Nasir drops a bridge collapses Nados Castle on him, although they Never Found the Body when they examined the ruins. He comes back in Radiant Dawn, revealing that he was just hiding for the past three years.
    • The Canon is actually that Ike beats him in the sword fight, then the Black Knight's mooks drop the castle trying to kill Ike. The Japanese version also gives a cheesy explanation to how he survived that was thankfully cut from the American version.
    • Also a closer look at the picture of the castle collapsing on the mooks if you look in the doorway the black knight is just standing there not seeming to be bothered by the collapsing castle. Combined with the fact that the player doesn't find out his identity he meant he was coming back in the sequel.
    • In fact, the Black Knight's alter ego, who is on Ike's side, is mentioned briefly during the events of the final chapter, which happens shortly afterward. Thus, not only did this guy survive a dragon and a castle collapsing, but he survived and was back up to FULL HEALTH, or at least enough health that he doesn't have any suspicious injuries, a few days later.
    • As it turns out, the sacrifice from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light (canonically Frey) survived his wounds and returned to service in New Mystery of the Emblem.
    • Deconstructed in Fire Emblem: Awakening. A paralogue chapter reveals that Emmeryn survived her Heroic Suicide off a cliff... but with brain damage so bad she can barely even speak properly. She never recovers, not even in the epilogue.
  • Alex in the Golden Sun saga, between Golden Sun: The Lost Age and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. In the ending of The Lost Age, the Wise One prevents him from gaining the full power of the Golden Sun and leaves him for dead. On top of a volcano that later erupts obliterating everything around it, and eventually collapses. He appears without as much as a scratch twenty years later in Dark Dawn: when Kraden confronts him about that, he merely answers with a smirk.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:
    • During the Whirlybird mission, Carl plays door gunner for a Triad mission, but his chopper is shot down. One bad guy asks about survivors, and a nearer gunman says that no, No One Could Survive That. Properly played, CJ would then sneak up on the gunman and slit his throat.
    • After shooting down Mike Toreno's helicopter during one mission, you're told that "there's no way he could have survived that fireball" (bordering on Suspiciously Specific Denial, as this is the only time you see such sort of a message after mission). Guess who you talk to later.
  • Frankie from Guns Gore And Canolli survives being thrown from a zeppelin into a cloud of zombie virus. In the sequel, Vinny throws him in a giant meatgrinder to make sure he doesn't come back.
  • The shark in Jaws Unleashed is ruled out dead by the mayor after it causes an undersea facility to explode, citing this. Michael Brody and Craddock are still rightfully doubtful.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • Calo Nord is Left for Dead. Buried under rubble. In a collapsing building. On a doomed planet undergoing heavy bombardment. With no chance to escape had he even not been buried, as the player has just stolen the only possible means of escape. Later in the game, he emerges on the Big Bad's flagship with barely a scratch; it is never explained how he survived, although they do hang a lampshade on this.
    • Also possibly Bastila and Darth Revan's presence on the bridge of Revan's starship when it was blasted to smithereens by Malak and still showing up for the rest of the game.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess comes to mind. During a cutscene, it is shown that Ganondorf has a huge sword STABBED THROUGH HIS GUT. He goes on to kill a sage, making them panic, as they didn't know he had the Triforce of Power. They were expecting the sword to be fatal, but he survives through an almost literal Deus Ex Machina.
  • Every time before Bowser has to turn giant and fight a boss in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, this is either explicitly said or at least somehow mentioned. Sure, he gets crushed under his own castle, a giant tower shaped like a person, a train and a castle gone Humongous Mecha, but it's very definitely Tempting Fate here. Bowser has fallen into lava on multiple accounts, fallen into a bottomless pit at least once, been inside his castle when it exploded at least twice, been frozen solid and broken in two, had his flesh burned off... it's really no surprise at this point that he can also survive getting crushed. In fact, Inside Story serves to explain how he got out of those other jams.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Double subverted in Mass Effect, when The Dragon dies or commits suicide, when you issue the order to either save the Council, attack the ship that The Dragon was indoctrinated by, or let the Council die. Guess what Shepard says to his/her squad, "Make sure he's dead." 10 seconds later, a squad member makes sure The Dragon is dead by shooting him with a pistol, in the head, but then comes back to life thanks to implants.
    • Also played with in Mass Effect 2, in which the bad guys blow up the Normandy and drop Shepard from orbit, actually killing him/her. Harbinger is smart enough to not assume this trope and go on a long race with Liara to recover Shepard's body, just in case. And then Shepard recovers. A less important example is in Wreav. During the ride to the Shroud, Kalros comes by and eats the car Wreav is in. When Eve asks Wrex what they should do, Wrex responds that there's no way he survived, and he couldn't give a shit about Wreav, remarking that he was a never-ending pain in the ass.
    • The Reapers finally slip up near the end of the game, when Harbinger personally comes down next to a transport beam and catches Shepard in a blast, along with the rest of the strike force. After it leaves, Shepard gets up and, though horrifically wounded and in great pain, s/he keeps moving towards the beam.
  • Max Payne is extraordinarily resistant; in Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, he survives being shot in the head with a Desert Eagle and being thrown hundreds of feet off the side of a building.
  • Mega Man:
  • Metal Gear:
    • Liquid Snake, chief antagonist of Metal Gear Solid, is the most prominent example in the series. He goes down with his flaming Mi-24 Hind-D after it eats several Stinger missiles and Solid Snake watches it go down. Snake gets slightly suspicious later on when he finds a parachute caught in a tree ("No way, he'd be sliced up faster than an onion in an infomercial..." since the Mi-24 doesn't have an ejection system), and sure enough, he comes back for more. He pilots the Metal Gear REX against Snake at the climax of the game and eats several MORE Stingers, this time into the open cockpit. He then fistfights his brother on the back of REX and gets thrown off. He gets into a Jeep and pursues Snake during his escape, taking heavy machine gun fire all the while. When both Jeeps crash, Liquid hauls himself toward Snake, FAMAS in hand and covered in blood. He finally keels over from a FOXDIE-induced heart attack. And then he comes back by possessing Revolver Ocelot through his transplanted forearm in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. Actually scratch that last one, Liquid wasn't actually possessing Ocelot, he just made himself and Snake believe was even though Liquid was long dead.
    • Naked Snake survived getting THROWN OFF A BRIDGE and being ridiculously close to a nuclear blast. Seriously, he should have been GLOWING after that. Later on, he jumps off a waterfall escaping the Big Bad's military prison and actually does die. He gets better, though. I'm not sure if that's playing it straight or subverting it. Or both. If you're playing poorly and getting beaten up by guards, patrols, and hostile wildlife, taking a look at the CURE screen could induce this reaction.
    • In MGS4, the fight between Raiden and Vamp. Raiden survived his collision against a titanic ship without any hands.
  • Subverted in No One Lives Forever: one of the main characters is introduced as having last been seen during an escape that, were he not such a super agent, surely would have killed him. Well, turns out that it did, and the man who claims to be him is, in fact, an impostor working with the bad guys.
  • In Overlord It's revealed towards the end of the game that the main character is a former hero who was left for dead by his companions because "No one could have survived that fall." He did, and it's how he got drafted into the previous Overlord's Evil Plan.
  • Remember how Paulo Guerra got hit by the satellite beam in the arcade version of Razing Storm? He's alive and kicking in the PS3 sequel.
  • In Record of Agarest War Leonhardt was finally able to kill the Black Knight by making him fall to his death from a high cliff. And then he actually comes back. As Vashtor.
  • Resident Evil:
    • In RE0 Billy Cohen and Rebecca Chambers are safely thrown out of a train that was going at least several hundred mph before crashing and exploding.
    • The Tyrants, especially T-00 aka "Mr. X" recover from pretty anything the protagonists throw at them, Mr. X in particular takes a dip in molten steel and just loses his coat. It takes the rocket launcher to kill the Tyrants for good. Except for the Super Tyrants in Resident Evil: Damnation where they just catch rockets and it takes a tank and fighter jet to put em down. The Tyrant from the RE2make recovers quickly from getting smashed by a police van and several massive explosions and depending on scenario Mr. X is implied to have survived getting ripped open by Birkin.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis:
      • The titular Nemesis lives and breathes this trope, surviving getting blown up, electrocuted, having his own rocket launcher explode in his arm, sprayed with acid so that all his arms, legs and head comes off, shot with a rail gun and then shot a few more time with a Magnum by Jill for good measure. Hell, it's suggested by Nemesis's still moving blob-corpse that it survived that as well, meaning it took Raccoon City getting nuked for it be Killed Off for Real.
      • Nicolai is caught in a gas station explosion that levels the entire block, but comes out of it unscathed.
    • Albert Wesker got impaled by Tyrant, Left for Dead, and has the building he was in self-destruct, and comes out of it self-destruct, and comes out of it nigh invulnerable, as shown in his next appearance when he takes a pile of I-beams and then a small explosion to the face and yet is still mocking Chris as the place self-destructs around him. In Resident Evil 5 this trope is taken Up to Eleven with Wesker, as he recovers from falling hundreds of stories, having a RPG going off in his face and is even still alive after falling into molten lava. It's only when Chris and Sheva hit with the trusty RPGs that Wesker is Killed Off for Real.
    • Leon S. Kennedy not only survives and walks off getting shot but also a direct punch from a Super Tyrant which sends him crashing into a pillar, and his spine isn't broken. Leon also survives after falling from Helicopter onto the ground in Resident Evil 6.
    • Jill in RE3 survives a horrific train with Carlos crash then recovers from being directly infected with T-Virus and it actually makes her body develop antibodies, then in RE5 she tackles Wesker out of a window and like him survives the fall (despite being assumed dead).
    • Ada Wong is seemly killed by the Tyrant and shows up in climax healthy enough to help kill the Tyrant. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles however show that she was grievous injured and covered in bandages as a result. In the RE2make Ada actually gets shot by Annette and then falls god knows how many stories into darkness and yet she appears later to help Leon (who still thinks she's dead) with Mr. X.
    • The Ustanak from Resident Evil 6 likewise keeps coming back from certain death including swimming in molten steel like Mr. X, it's only when Sherry and Jake Attack Its Weak Point does Ustanak finally keel over and die.
    • Resident Evil 7: Biohazard:
      • Ethan Winters The Hero survives after getting his hand sawed off with a chainsaw by his infected wife Mia, as well getting his foot lobbed off with a spade by Jack. It's only due to the first aid chemical that he can reattach his limbs at all, also unlike the other RE-protagonists, Ethan is a normal man. Then a huge Wham Episode comes near the end of Resident Evil Village that explains why: he's been Dead All Along since Jack Baker killed him in that first meeting. The Mold is the only thing keeping him from crumbling apart until not only killing Mother Miranda, but then blowing himself up in a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy the Megamycete.
      • Mia Winters due to being infected by Eveline can survive an axe to the neck and even a bullet to the skull.
      • Jack Baker is most indestructible RE villain since Wesker. Driving into steel spikes and having the car he was driving explode? He just gets back up while on fire and puts a gun in his mouth to show Ethan how unkillable he is. Then later Jack and Ethan get in chainsaw duel which ends with Jack getting his upper body destroyed... is that the end? Nope, Jack comes back as massive slithering reptile-like monstrosity, and Ethan has to calcify him. And even that is not the last of Jack, as he survives till the End of Zoe DlC as the Swamp Man and is only Killed Off for Real when his brother Joe Baker destroys him with a Power Fist.
  • Saints Row ends with a massive boat explosion that kills everyone on board — including the Playa/Boss. Except that it turns out that the Playa somehow managed to hold on to life, "only" spending five years in a coma before waking up without any consequences to physical health.
  • In Soldier of Fortune: Payback, you shoot down the Moor's helicopter, but you Never Found the Body, so you can't verify his death. During the cliffhanger ending, he is revealed to be still alive.
  • Peppy in Star Fox: Assault has an Apparoid infection on his right arm, receives a few explosions in the face and has the Great Fox blow up with him in it and he appears in the end with only an injury in the face.
  • At the end of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Edge Maverick and Faize Sheifa Beleth seemingly fall to their deaths as Nox Obscurus begins to disintegrate. Nox Obscurus subsequently vanishes into a nebulous cloud of gas and an unconscious Edge is shown aimlessly drifting through space. In a later scene, Edge appears onboard the Calnus completely unscathed without explanation. Meanwhile, Faize appears unscathed in a special ending involving Lymle, although Faize's figure is cast against a heavily bloomed white background, so it is unclear whether Lymle is hallucinating.
  • In Suikoden II, Luca Blight is killed as follows: Riddled with arrows (killing his horse), fought three times (all three of them six-on-one beatdowns), riddled with arrows, riddled with arrows again, and then fought in a duel. Only then does he die.
  • This also happens in Super Robot Wars Original Generation saga. Lamia Loveless was forcefully pulled out from a Bartoll pod using Alt Eisen Riese's Revolving Bunker, all while naked, already damaged, and bound with the cables inside, anyone can say That's Gotta Hurt at that point. To make things worse, she got shot down while laying down in Alt Eisen Riese's arm without recovering from the previous damage, not by a mere gun, but with a dangerous Humongous Mecha, all while NAKED AND DEFENSELESS. People think that she wouldn't survive at all... except that she survived just by a very small margin, because the game's Dragon made it in time to reprogram her and turn her against her allies. And the scene of her ultimate rescue was just as brutal, Axel uses his strongest attack only to plug her out of the machine that kept here, yet she still survives for the ultimate repair. If you call Code Kirin weaker than Revolving Bunker, well that's just ridiculous... But then again, she was in a bigger mecha so a way stronger attack may be necessary to plug her out.
    • And it was actually PRECEDED, when she self destructs to save the team from the Shadow Mirror, and she got Lemon to haul her in the last minute and repair her and let her off.
      • Justified, as she's a robot. A ridiculously human one, built mainly for infiltration and for Sleeper Agent operations. Meaning, she's not Made of Iron (not literally), but still she's definitely covered when it comes to replacing the damaged parts of her body, because of said explosions and possible shrapnel, with little to no trauma afterwards. Neither the game or the anime, however, capitalize on this little tidbit.
      • Averted for her voice module, that thing never goes unscathed without at least a little Funetik Aksent due to the dangers she's constantly exposed. The most recent one even got her to occasionally talk in a high-pitched, energetic voice, a stark contrast to her own personality! note 
    • Axel Almer also adheres this trope fully, probably in a far more impossible odds than Lamia. Let's see... he got blasted into pieces, almost all limbs said to be broken, had his death speech and all, and his place of death was merged into an alien body (and supposedly his body too)... Banpresto's answer? Have a quirky mercenary squadron haul his machine remnants in the last minutes, JUST BEFORE THE MERGING, and have ANOTHER DEAD character (Alfimi) possess his soul briefly so he can wake up in the future time. He has no body modifications before, he's just a human that happens to be too tough for his own good. Maybe his popularity ever since he played the villain part ultimately causes this...
    • Speaking of which, even Kyosuke Nanbu fell to this trope several times. Before the game timeline, he suffered a plane crash that could've killed him... yet he came out with just some scratches and bruises. Next, when he was trying a test run of a Transforming Mecha, it malfunctioned, exploded with him inside, and the mech sank to the water... yet he came out with just a few broken ribs. In Original Generation 2, Axel Almer proceeds to use his strongest attack to rip Kyosuke's mech to shreds, which Kyosuke not only survives but promptly gets a massive update to his mech so it doesn't happen again. And where does that credit to? His luck. What a lucky bastard.
      • Kyosuke's abnormal Luck is actually one of the traits he's famous for. He routinely survives attacks that were supposed to kill him, and fans speculate that this luck is what allows Kyosuke to perform well in his Alteisen, which is, in all honesty, an outdated and clumsy Real Robot Genre that really wants to be a Super Robot Genre when it grows up. Anyone else using the Alt would probably find themselves shot down pretty quickly.
    • Oh, and Excellen Browning also got it a bit worse. She was supposedly dead at the plane crash with Kyosuke, but the Einst hauled her in the last minute so they can partially put their parts on her, and that ensured her survival.
    • Similarly to Axel, the Inspector Mekibos survives the obliteration of his unit towards the end of OG2 (or SRW3, if you prefer) because he was lucky. Of course, this is Mekibos.
  • Syphon Filter 2:
    • In the early missions, Logan makes a leap of faith to dodge a helicopter-launched missile not once, but twice, first diving headfirst off a cliff of unknown height, then later off a 100-foot or so high bridge onto a moving train. There's no way these leaps could be survived in real life, at least not without crippling injuries. In fact, jumping onto a speeding train from a stationary object would cause one to slide backwards and sustain severe lacerations or broken bones, maybe fall between the cars and be shredded under the wheels. Apparently, the designers disregarded Newton's third law. Don't think the snow in the first case would do much to cushion the impact, either (see Soft Water).
    • During the Agency Biolab Escape mission, he jumps a hundred feet or so down a large ventilation shaft and grabs onto a ledge a few feet above a gigantic fan, Die Hard style. If this were realistic, his fingers/wrists would snap on impact and he'd be shredded by the fan "like an onion in an infomercial". See Not the Fall That Kills You…
  • Tales of the Abyss has one of its antagonists, Dist, live up to the phrase 'tenacious as a cockroach.' Near the end of the game, Dist, in a desperate attempt to kill the party, jumps on top of the damaged robot he sent to kill them and tries to blow it up along with him, only to be sent flying in the air by Luke along with the robot, where it explodes in midair. However in the Nebilim sidequest, Dist comes back, unharmed with no explanation, only to get blasted by Nebilim's energy beam. After the battle, though, he's still alive. He is the only God General to survive. Then there's Sync, who was thrown into a volcano.
  • Tekken:
    • Bryan Fury's ending in Tekken 3. Nuff said.
    • In Tekken 4, Kazuya Mishima got into this. So he was thrown into a volcano and probably was immolated there... But he still manages to get Back from the Dead, because some scientists hauled off his ashes just in time and resurrected him.
    • In Tekken 5, Heihachi Mishima takes this to a new level. Surrounded with robots, pinned down with no chance to escape, and all the robots self-destructed, destroying him and the temple where he's located. An observer confirms "Heihachi Mishima is dead"... Is it? Bzzt! Wrong! He Never Found the Body. So it turns out that Heihachi managed to survive the near-impossible odds, being no ordinary man.
  • Jack from Time Hollow is considered dead when he falls off a cliff... but he suddenly appears at the end of the game to foil Ethan's plan to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Your Commander in Total Annihilation is able to survive a nuclear missile blast, provided the missile is not a direct hit. The Krogoth in the Expansion Pack can survive seven. It can also survive the Commander's Disintegrator Gun if has veteran status.
  • As a villainous example, one of Lazarevic's soldiers in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves throws one out after forcing Elena and Nate's truck off a cliff. Being the heroes, the narrow escape after their pursuers drive off is requisite.
  • XenoGears: Abel, who is Fei's original incarnation, was the Sole Survivor of The Eldridge's destruction even after the ship Self Destructed and subsequently crashed onto the planet.

    Web Comics 
  • Confidently invoked by a Clone Trooper in this episode of Darths & Droids after the clones have blasted Obi-Wan off of a cliff. Of course, Obi-Wan just hits some Soft Water and is completely fine...
  • This MegaTokyo two-page spread. Especially with the "disturbance in the force" next page.
  • Played with in Captain SNES: The Game Masta where an explosion is set up for the sole purpose of killing a character named Bob. The person who made the explosion, who realized the heroes would just be blown away, mentions that only a Chocobo would have the reflexes to survive said explosion. Guess what Bob happens to be at the moment.
  • Satirized in this Sluggy Freelance comic upon the seeming death of Oasis. "A dynamic character with the ability to survive certain death and a questionable death scene leaving no corpse? Face it, we'll never see HER again."
  • This strip from Real Life Comics details the various hazards to surviving the coming explosion of Evil Genius Tony's space station. The payoff is three strips later with Tony crashing into Greg's front yard, brushing off the inevitable "How the hell did you survive?" with a simple "Don't ask stupid questions."
  • This strip from 8-Bit Theater lampshades the trope when Black Mage notes that they survived after Red Mage comments about Sarda surviving the explosion.
    Garland: As villains, it's our job to haughtily assume our plucky rivals were defeated by mundane means without anyone to witness their demise.
  • Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! of Girl Genius fame. The man has survived falling from an airship several times, AND multiple explosions, and apparently WORSE, we just haven't actually been witness to it.
    • This comic, full stop.
    • In a stroke of (insane) genius, Gil decides to utilize Othar's chronic defiance of certain death by chaining him to Tarvek, who is about to set out on a dangerous mission with an experimental airship. Othar, naturally, is going to survive so (theoretically) Tarvek should as well. As an added bonus, he'll be able to find out just how Tryggvassen manages to do it.
  • In this The Adventures of Dr. McNinja strip, the doctor reflects on a villain he threw off a cliff in a previous adventure and, he is "pretty sure", died. He Never Found the Body.
  • Panthera. When Ari/Oosterhuis gets unmasked, he brings down the entire building. Leo chooses to stay behind and use his powers to help the others get a chance to get out.
  • Subverted in The Order of the Stick with respect to Thog. His duel with Roy ends with him being buried under the rubble of the collapsed arena. No body is ever shown, and Thog is a Barbarian, a class whose main schtick is having lots of Hit Points, which makes it look like it's setting up for this trope. But Thog has yet to return, so it seems his death was genuine.note 
  • Bob and George:
  • The Dementia of Magic: After Alex tells the mage council that she shoved Marzos into a portal to Another Dimension, they immediately conclude they're rid of him forever.
  • Subverted in Amanda Green, Superhuman Insurance Agent: Adonis' Secret Identity was "killed" in a highly visible and very spectacular incident. He cannot reveal his survival without giving away his superpowers. Now he's stuck being Adonis ("Donnie" to his friends) full-time and feeling a bit alienated because it makes it hard to associate with regular people.

    Web Original 
  • This applies to Sharkface of Red vs. Blue, who was knocked out by Carolina by throwing a Covenant Gravity Hammer right at his face, shortly followed by the remains of a entire skyscraper on top of him after the Mother of Invention fired a freakin' MAC round dead center into said building from space, damn...!
    • Toward the climax of Season 13, Wash, Carolina, & Church seemingly take out the Big Bad's two Dragons in a rather spectacular fashion and relievedly report to the others that the gruesome twosome are dead. Sure enough, come the next episode...
    Simmons: I thought you said they were dead!?
    Church: We dropped a fucking spaceship on them; it was kind-of assumed!
  • Used and subverted during The Spoony Experiment's review of the Minority Report video game. The entire plot is about stopping murders before they happen, but by turning it into a beat-em-up game, the player can end up hurling enemies through plate glass sheets and onto deep fryers, as well as wielding machine guns and grenade launchers, effectively causing more murders then he's trying to prevent (and that the Precogs who are supposed to be predicting murders before they happen don't pick up.) Spoony tries to invoke this trope (since henchman in beat-em-ups tend to be able to take a little more punishment than in real life) so that the game doesn't completely shoot its own themes in the foot, but that comes to a stop once he starts throwing enemies off of tall buildings and into vats of acid.
  • You Have Become Your Avatar: The 7D somehow survived a direct explosion by Lord Herobrine, who was using Abridged Popo as a body when the group was in the middle of a heist on the Seven Dwarves' Diamond Mine.
  • Not with a person but a household appliance. If you've ever seen Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? you know that microwaving a spray paint can is fatal to the microwave since both instances ended with a broken, burnt out microwave, just like when dOvetastic did it a year and a half prior to them. However, someone else microwaved a spray paint can, and the microwave still worked afterwards despite the same kind of billowing fire shooting out of all the vents and the microwave shutting off. It turned out that it was just a safety feature kicking in and the microwave didn't break.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: At the end of Season 2's "True Colors", Anne and the Plantars witness Marcy get impaled by a giant sword. In Season 3, Anne refuses to believe Marcy could have died that easily when discussing it with Hop Pop. She does indeed survive thanks to the Moss Man's healing powers combined with the Shadow Moth, but only because Andrias saves her to make her The Core's human host.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    Azula: The Avatar's dead... unless you think he somehow, miraculously... survived?
    (pregnant pause while Zuko recalls the healing water Katara showed him)
    Zuko: (lying) No. There's no way he could have survived.
    • This is all the assurance Azula needs that he did survive. Good thing The Chessmaster has a contingency plan for this...Still, she was pretty surprised upon seeing the Avatar in the flesh, so she wanted to see it for herself.
    • This scene from 'The Southern Raiders' may be the fastest fulfillment of this trope's prophecy ever:
      Zuko: (watching Azula falling to her death) She's... not going to make it... (one miraculous escape for Azula and ten seconds later) Of course she did.
    • In the comic book The Search, Ozai strongly disagrees with his hired hitman's conclusion that their target must be dead by now after disappearing into the local forbidden, haunted forest. Like father, like daughter.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series:
      • Batman, in the aptly named episode "The Man Who Killed Batman".
      • This trope is played upon twice in the episode "The Clock King". Right before Fugate seems to die as the clock tower starts to collapse:
      Fugate: You of all people should know, Batman... There's always a way out!
      • And later in the same episode, when Gordon doubts that Fugate survived, Batman tells him that if he could have gotten out, then Fugate could have, saying "it's only a matter of time" before he reappears. And it turned out that Batman was right. Fugate did survive, and made a return appearance in a later episode.
    • Justice League:
      • Big Bad Darkseid was practically guaranteed to return when Batman foolishly declared "Nothing could have survived that, not even Darkseid" after the villain's apparent death by planet-sized explosion in "Twilight". Superman provided a little Lampshade Hanging by immediately quipping "You know something Bruce? You're not always right." The Unlimited episode "Alive!" provided the shocking twist that Darkseid didn't survive, though that doesn't stop him from coming Back from the Dead.
      • In the Grand Finale "Destroyer", after Darkseid dies again, this time it's Superman who declares that he's really most sincerely dead, since "We saw it this time." The Flash notes, "You saw it last time, too." At least Batman's smarter this time: "I doubt either of them (Darkseid or Luthor) died." According to Dwayne McDuffie, Batman's half right. Darkseid and Luthor are still part of the Source Wall. They're not coming back.
  • This was a common trope in various cartoons of the 1980s:
    • In The Transformers, Megatron "died" at the end of a major storyline, only to turn out to be alive at the end, three times in the first season alone. Spike Witwicky could be counted on to deliver the line, but Optimus Prime was always good about predicting his return.
    • Mumm-Ra, of ThunderCats (1985) fame, "died" with similar frequency. He's called The Ever-Living for a reason.
    • In Dungeons & Dragons (1983), Venger didn't even need a major story as an excuse. Any building he walked into had about an even chance of collapsing on him, but you could always count on seeing his image rise forebodingly from the wreckage.
  • Bob was hit with the Disney Death version just before the second season finale of ReBoot, although they managed to make it more believable by showing him shooting the explosive away from himself at the last second.
  • The villain Slade from Teen Titans used this very same trope to return from Hell:
    Cyborg: I don't get it. The dude fell into a pit of lava. Who lives through something like that?
    Raven: Apparently, Slade.
    • However, it's sort of a subversion as there was a huge lead-up for him to be Not Quite Dead, but he really was and was instead brought back in a later episode. Also, Slade himself admitted that by all rights, he should have been killed from that, and only survived because "I got lucky".
    • There's another subversion in an earlier episode. In "Haunted" Robin spends the whole episode either worrying that he's come back or convinced he has. It turns out he really was dead. (Note that the quote above actually comes from "Haunted".)
  • The two-part series premiere of Darkwing Duck, "Darkly Dawns the Duck", relies on the Disney Death version. As Taurus Bulba's Ram Rod, a gravity gun, explodes violently in a gigantic fireball (large enough to engulf the top of Canard Tower, which is taller than the city is wide), both the villain and Darkwing are caught at ground zero. Gosalyn and Launchpad both believe that Darkwing has died, until he appears at the orphanage a few days later, having decided to adopt Gosalyn as his daughter. Surprisingly, Taurus Bulba did in fact die. However, his remains were subsequently stolen by the criminal organization F.O.W.L., and made into a nigh-unstoppable cyborg.
  • Parodied in one episode of Drawn Together, some OAPs cut the brakes of Toot's wheeled zimmer frame, causing her to (slowly walk) out of control and plummet off a balcony. They remark something like "Nobody could survive a 10 foot fall into the trampoline garden" or something similar.
  • In the DuckTales (1987) episode "Hero for Hire", Launchpad's helicopter crashes and sinks into the bay, seemingly while he's piloting it. Both Scrooge and the cops on the scene immediately assume he died, despite the absence of the body.
  • In the Spider-Man 60's animated series, Doctor Octopus throws Spider-Man out of a window and immediately declares that he's finally rid of him. In a rare moment of sanity for the series, Spider-Man immediately comes back in through the window, although it makes Doctor Octopus look like he should have failed his dissertation.
  • Megas XLR gives us this exchange
    Zerak: "No one could have survived that blast!"
  • Gargoyles:
    • Early episodes had something along these lines after fighting with Demona. They stopped doing this when it is revealed that she is immortal.
    • Even after it was revealed that Demona and Macbeth were immortal, they are still led to believe that Macbeth is dead after he explodes messily in a hovercraft accident. It turned out to be a robot double commissioned by Xanatos to trick the clan, but they should know better.
    • Subverted when Goliath, Angela, and Elisa fight the ghosts of Hakon and the Captain. When the newly-reincarnated Captain turns on Hakon and pushes him into the magical standing stones, which then collapse around them, Elisa says "No one could survive that." They didn't.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "My Mother the Carjacker", Mona (Homer's mother) drives a bus off a cliff and into a lake. At first Chief Wiggum subverts this by noting, "There's still air in that bus, so for the next thirty minutes, this is a rescue mission." But then the bus explodes. And then the cliffside collapses and the rubble fills the entire lake. But before the episode even ends, we discover Mona didn't die because she jumped clear before the bus even left the ground.
    • Speaking of Wiggum, the number of times he should have logically been killed (blown up, jugular torn out by wolves, etc.) must be in the hundreds now. And Homer...
    • Moleman. Just ... Moleman.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, episode "Toad Warriors", Kar-Krazy Koopa blasts a fortress where the heroes are hiding. Though he immediately jeers like he assumes he's defeated his opponents, in the very next scene he refuses Mouser's insistence on the same outcome, thinking that the heroes might be lying low as a trick. It takes a couple more potshots and more urging from Mouser until Koopa finally agrees to move in, which is also when Mario & Co. initiate the plan they had just developed.
  • Most every episode of the old Birdman (1967) cartoon ended with Birdman or Birdboy uttering something to this effect so the writers had a way out if they felt like reusing a Villain of the Week.
  • Kim Possible:
    • In So the Drama Shego is kicked from the roof of a high building, into an electrical signal tower, which not only electrocutes her but also collapses right on top of her. And she survives. In fact, the creators put her in an extra scene just to prove it because test audiences were horrified.
    • In the series finale, Kim gets blasted by a Lowardian laser while entangled in Drakken's vine outgrowth. Drakken momentarily thinks she was disintegrated, but it turns out that the latter protected her from the former.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003):
    • This happens a lot with the Shredder. In the first two seasons, he survives 1) falling approximately five floors after being caught in the water stream from a broken water tower, and then having the water tower fall on him, 2) apparent decapitation, and 3) being at the epicenter of an explosion that vaporized a building. Even after all that, they're still surprised when Cyber Shredder survives electrocution.
    • Shredder himself tries to avoid falling into this after the Turtles appear to die in an exploding building. He refuses to write them off for good unless he finds hard evidence. Baxter Stockman ends up fabricating evidence so Shredder will give him access to more Utrom tech.
      Shredder: Where. Are. The bodies?
      Hun: We burned that building to the ground! I think we can safely assume that -
      Shredder: We can assume nothing. My enemies assumed they had destroyed me, and it cost them dearly.
  • The earlier Ninja Turtles cartoon had a rare moment of Genre Savvy during the Eye of Sarnoth arc in Season Two. When Shredder gets his hands on both the Eye and a device called the Synothometer, Donatello points out that the latter was designed to destroy the former in a massive explosion when the two come in contact. When the big kaboom comes, the Turtles have this conversation.
    Michaelangelo: You don't suppose he bit the big one, do you?
    Leonardo: No such luck. I have a feeling he'll be back.
    Raphael: And probably sooner than we think.
  • Scorponok in Beast Wars gives exactly this line when he blows up a pile of energon next to the Maximals (to his credit, it was an impressively large explosion). Megatron, however, is savvy enough to demand he bring back some wreckage. Much later, in the Grand Finale of Beast Machines, the Grand Mal crashes to Cybertron with Optimus Primal, Cheetor, and Rattrap inside. Obsidian thinks that they must be dead but Megatron, once again, orders them to find the bodies to be sure.
  • Metalocalypse lives for this trope. To list all the examples would take too much time, so only the two most memorable ones will be listed:
    • Jean-Pierre, the chef, who in the very first episode was shot at by a rocket, which propelled him into the Hatredcopter's blades, chopping him into many many pieces. Not only did he survive that, when Dethklok tried and failed to cook for themselves, they sewed him back together. He Came Back Wrong, but he came back with no effect on his cooking skills (aside from the one time he accidentally killed the Queen of Denmark, but that is a different story).
    • Charles Ofdensen, the manager, successfully fended off the Metal-Masked Assassin when he tried to kill off Dethklok in the first season finale. The assassin comes after him in the second season finale, chasing after him on a Dethspider, finally catching him when one of his allies shot Ofdensen through the chest with an arrow. The assassin then proceeded to beat the shit out of Ofdensen, breaking his glasses and cutting him up in the process. Everyone believed he had died from his injuries. Which was exactly what Ofdensen WANTED them to think.
      • Season 4, however, revealed Ofdensen actually did die. However, it was at the hands of a Dethklok medic at Ofdensen's insistence and he was revived by the Church of the Black Klok. He had to die to fill his role in the prophecy, you see.
  • The Filmation Superboy cartoon "Finger of Doom". An observatory is destroyed by a beam of light from a rogue star. Superboy utters the immortal line "No one could have survived that." It turns out that Dr. Bailey, an astronomer who was in the observatory when it exploded, has gained superpowers and been driven mad.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • The first story arc ends with Megatron at ground zero of a Space Bridge explosion. He survives thanks to Dark Energon he embedded in his spark, but both Autobots and Decepticons write him off until Soundwave picks up a faint energy signal. Megatron is still out of commission for a good part of the season though.
    • Prior to the start of the series, Shockwave was caught in an exploding Space Bridge and presumed dead by Starscream and the other Decepticons. He awakened on Cybertron, repaired himself, and continued his research in solitude.
  • Superman: The Animated Series
    • In both of his appearances, the Toyman is caught in explosions and presumed dead. He finally gets arrested in a crossover episode of Static Shock.
    • Played with in "Identity Crisis", where Bizarro is presumed to die saving Superman and Lois from an explosion. Luthor warns Superman to clear out before activating the self-destruct, telling him the specifics of how violent the blast will be and claiming "not even you" can survive it. When Lois later wonders whether Bizarro is dead or not, Superman really has no idea; he's never experienced an explosion that violent, but if Luthor was wrong, then Bizarro, being his clone, could have survived. (And as it turned out, he did.)
    • In "The Late Mr. Kent", Clark Kent uncovers evidence that exonerates a convicted murderer, leading the real killer to plant a bomb in his car. He's not hurt, of course, but he has to let people believe that Clark is dead until he can find a way to explain his survival without revealing his Secret Identity.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power does this with Entrapta, who the heroes see get trapped in an incinerator just seconds before it activates. They naturally assume her dead and mourn her loss. The next episode reveals that she actually used a reprogrammed robot to shield herself from the flames and spent a few days waiting for rescue. She instead ends up found by Catra and Scorpia, with the three of them coming to the conclusion that she's been abandoned by the Rebellion. This realization combined with her For Science! attitude leads to Entrapta's Face–Heel Turn, with the heroes completely unaware she's still alive.
  • In a heroic variation, Danger Mouse and Penfold are presumed squashed after Baron Greenback (using an anti-gravity ray) drops the Statue of Liberty on them (episode "The Statue of Liberty Caper") when they suddenly appear in front of Greenback unscathed. How? According to DM, the statue is hollow and he and Penfold stood right where the hole on the base of the statue was.

    Real Life 
  • Phineas Gage. While working on a railway tunnel, an accident with explosives resulted in a 1.25-inch diameter metal rod getting shot through his skull, entering below his chin and exiting out his forehead. He survived - even managing to remain conscious and talkative in the minutes following the accident - and lived for twelve more years (albeit with some behavioral alterations, like misogyny, though just how much his personality changed is now disputed) before succumbing to a seizure at the age of 36, caused by his injury. Still, that's much longer than you'd expect someone with a rod shot through their head to last! Even more miraculous? This happened during the 1800s, prior to the discovery of antibiotics, vaccinations, or any other modern medical treatment.
  • Same with Formula One, there are wrecks that would have been fatal, had it not been for his helmet/quick emergency surgery/what have you.
    • This crash from Canada 2007 only caused a concussion and a sprained ankle. The driver passed medical with no ill effects but still had to miss the next race so as not to risk two concussions in two weeks.
    • Similarly: Felipe Massa got hit in the head by a 1kg piece of metal spring, at a relative speed of about 100mph, and recovered to return to F1 the following season, and seven more seasons after that.
    • Romain Grosjean at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. After contact with Daniil Kvyat, he hit a barrier at just the wrong angle; the front of his car went through the barrier and stopped dead, the back half kept going and was torn away, the fuel tank ruptured, and the car exploded into flames. Without the Halo device on the car to protect him, Grosjean would have been decapitated. Instead, he just scrambled Out of the Inferno and walked away.
    • During a qualifier race in the 1977 British Grand Prix, David Purley survived a massive crash that resulted in one of the biggest decelerations ever documented (from 179 G to 0 G).
    • For a comparison between no one could survive that and someone actually not surviving a more minor looking accident in motor racing, this wreck at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans had the car bouncing off the Armco like a pinball at 180 MPH or so, and reduced the car to its frame. The driver walked away with a cut on his arm. This wreck from the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, on the other hand, consisted of a single impact at "only" 105 MPH and left the car largely in one piece (though obviously heavily damaged), but the driver died of his injuries shortly after arriving at the medical center.
    • Auto racing wrecks tend to look a lot worse than they actually are. The drivers wear a lot of protective gear, and the cars are designed to fall apart so as to direct the force of impact away from the driver. For example, there has been one driver fatality in Formula One racing since Ayrton Senna died in 1994 when Jules Bianchi succumbed to head injuries suffered in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. (A few marshalls have been killed, and Maria de Vilotta's death was related to her accident, but she lived for a little over a year after it.)
  • The story of Rasputin. According to sources, he was poisoned, shot twice, curb-stomped, beaten with a metal cane, tied up, and thrown into a lake before he finally kicked the bucket. The ultimate cause of death was drowning, though not for lack of trying everything else.
    • Incidentally, the poison was a literal example: it was more than enough to kill him several times over. It's thought that it evaporated when they baked the cake it was in.
    • In truth, his 1916 autopsy revealed he died instantly after being shot in the head, and the fabled circumstances of his death were likely fabrications by his opponents to paint him as a nearly-unkillable force of evil and corruption.
  • After the Russian Royal family were murdered in 1918, several imposters claiming to be the surviving children popped up trying to get into their grandmother's good books. A major reason that rumors or claims regarding royal son Alexei's survival never gained the traction that similar claims regarding his sisters did is because Alexei had hemophilia, so the idea that he could have survived being shot was pretty much impossible; even if by some miracle no shots hit his vital organs, he would have bled to death.
  • Musicians, when they don't die early deaths at young ages, can sometimes fit the trope.
    • Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones is probably the ultimate example, having survived more things (and more drug and alcohol abuse) than many ever people have and ever will.
    • Ozzy Osbourne is close behind for sheer ability to survive whatever the hell he does to himself, to the point where he was genetically tested - and proven to have a genetic mutation rendering him, in effect, Immune to Drugs.
    • Atsushi Sakurai of BUCK-TICK suffered a Ruptured Appendix and subsequent abdominal peritonitis in The '90s, yet somehow managed to beat the odds of an 80% fatality rate to be not only alive but soon back onstage, outwardly seeming to have suffered no lasting effects.
    • Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan broke his neck onstage drumming, only surviving the break alive and not permanently paraplegic or quadriplegic because of sheer luck as to where the fracture was and somehow even more luck that the inept and dangerous way he was carried offstage "only" led to permanent pain and movement issues and the need for future surgeries and interventions instead of death or paralysis.
  • Rebel commander (and general badass) Hadji Murat flung himself over the edge of a narrow mountain pass to escape capture by the Russians. The Russians figured him for dead, but in reality, the snow had broken his fall, and he lived to fight against the Russian Empire's absorption of the Caucasus.
  • Touching the Void. On their way down from the 21,000-foot Siula Grande peak, Simpson broke his leg in three places. He and Yates improvised a way to get down the mountain that went horribly wrong leaving Simpson dangling over a cliff edge and slowly dragging Yates after him. When Yates cut the rope Simpson couldn't possibly have survived either the fall or the return to civilisation with a broken leg. He did though.
  • A venomous Brazilian wandering spider that somehow made its way to Britain. It fell in the freezer after biting a man and was stunned by the cold. The man who got bitten poured boiling water over it, put it in a jar, and later microwaved it. You'd think nothing could survive that. However, by the time the man made it to the hospital, the spider had shaken off the ill treatment and was up and moving again, struggling to get out of the jar. Mr. Stevens, the man who was bitten, took the jar with him to the hospital. It was inadvertently released within hospital grounds.
  • Ever heard of World's Most Amazing Videos? This trope appears many times per episode.
  • In 1972, Yugoslavian stewardess Vesna Vulovic fell from 33,330 feet when the airplane she was in was blown up by a bomb. The plane cracked in half so that means she survived the oxygen deprivation, fast temperature and pressure drop, and the fall itself. She broke all her limbs, spine, and skull, and had severe internal bleeding, but she still survived and made a full recovery (including recovering from being paralyzed from the waist down).
  • Sergeant Nicholas Alkemade, 1944. He was a tail gunner of a Lancaster bomber. A night fighter shot the plane in fire, and the pilot gave the command to jump. His parachute inside the fuselage caught fire. He decided to jump to his death without a parachute rather than burn alive with the doomed bomber. Miraculously, he fell almost five kilometres into pine trees which slowed down his fall, and he survived with bruises and broken bones. The Germans who captured him did not at first believe him, but when they found the wreck of the bomber, they believed him and wrote him a certificate of what happened.
  • Richard Hammond from Top Gear. In September 2006, the rocket-propelled jet car he was driving blew a tire at 288 mph, rolled off the runway and came to a halt upside down. Hammond was conscious within minutes, up and talking within 24 hours, out of the hospital in five weeks, and back on the show by January. Fridge Horror sets in when you learn that what saved him was his height-if he had been only a few inches taller, he would have had brain damage or decapitation-and that the taller James May was supposed to drive the car.
    • Hammond would later suffer another major crash on The Grand Tour while driving the Rimac Concept One, leaving the road and crashing on a mountainside. His only physical injury was a fractured knee, but a second major close call left him rattled and less willing to take major risks like he had been.
  • A guy was in a car, crushed flat by an overturned truck. Not. Even. A. Scratch.
  • Alexander Krotov famously survived a terrible crash in which the wing and tail of his plane sheared off at low altitude.
  • During the Battle of Kapyong of The Korean War, Canadian and Australian troops defended the hills against the overwhelming and relentless forces of the Chinese. When Australian Major Bernard O'Dowd managed to radio the 1st U.S. Marine Division requesting reinforcements, the answering general incredulously thought he was an enemy agent, declaring that the units down there was all wiped out the night before. O'Dowd replied that "I've got news for you, we are still here and we are staying here."
  • Betty Lou Oliver: Elevator operator, Empire State Building, 1940s. Not only survived the injuries initial impact and fireball when a B-25 Bomber crashed into the side of the building, but then subsequently survived when the cables on the elevator she was in snapped, causing the car to plummet 79 stories (incidentally, one of the few real-life examples of an elevator actually plummeting out of control after the cables breaking).
  • The 16 survivors who for the most part walked out of North Tower of the World Trade Center after the 110 story building fell to pieces on top of them, most of them were in stairway B (some had to be carried out with relatively minor injuries, such as a broken leg)
  • A few airplane-related miracle survival stories:
    • The Gimli Glider was a Boeing 767 that ran out of fuel over Canada because of improper calculations involving pounds vs kilograms. The pilot managed to miraculously pull off a dead stick landing that, according to Discovery Channel's Air Crash Investigation, any subsequent pilot that attempted the scenario in a simulator crashed the simulated plane.
      • It should be noted that the pilot was one of the few commercial pilots who was also an accomplished glider pilot, so it was less a miracle that he was able to pull off the landing which required a few maneuvers frequently done in gliding but hardly ever in motorized flight, and more a miracle that he was the pilot assigned to that flight!
    • Aloha Airlines Flight 243, the plane's fuselage failed, the roof was ripped off, and the pilots STILL managed to land with only ONE fatality, which was a direct result of the Explosive Decompression, not the emergency landing.
    • United Airlines Flight 232 was another one. Ground maintenance later admitted that when the flight engineer explained the situation, their first thought was "we're talking to a dead man". The plane did crash (and break up) on landing, but over half of the passengers and crew survived the accident. Similar to the Gimli Glider situation, simulator pilots were able to replicate this feat only with the assistance of the original pilot.
      • While recuperating in the hospital after the accident, one of the pilots from UA 232 saw news footage of a horrific plane crash and immediately had the thought that no one could have survived that. He was stunned to learn that that was footage of his own accident.
    • The British Airways pilot that survived for 15 minutes while dangling out the window of his airplane.
    • American and British heavy bombers were famous for taking debilitating damage and still making it home, sometimes with one engine working out of four and a gunner flying the plane because the pilots were dead. In one case, a B-17 collided with a fighter over Germany — and did not break in half until after it had landed safely back in England. Another case of a B-17 surviving such a collision.
    • Saburo Sakai flew a severely damaged Mitsubishi Zero 800 miles (from Guadalcanal to Rabaul) while half-conscious and blind in one eye.
    • An Israeli F-15 fighter landed on one wing after the other was destroyed in a midair collision. The pilot, unable to see what was going on due to oil and smoke, did not eject as ordered but continued to fly on the plane's aerodynamic undersurfaces. Reportedly, he was demoted for insubordination and instantly promoted back for outstanding flying.
    • An F-106 Delta Dart got into a (normally unrecoverable) flat spin over Montana. The pilot, knowing the plane was lost, ejected. The force of the ejection knocked the plane out of its spin, and it coasted to a wheels-up landing in a farmer's field. It was repaired, continued to fly, and is now in the US Air Force Museum.
    • Belive it or not in 45% of "hull loss incidents" (i.e. the plane gets damaged so much it has to be scrapped due to damages) the number of fatalities is zero.
    • Occasionally, one person or a few people will survive a crash that's officially classified as "unsurvivable".
      • Juliane Koepcke. Your average 17-year-old German girl. On her way to visit her father, her plane crashed after a lightning strike caused it to break apart in mid-air. Right over the Amazon Rain Forest. She fell 10,000 feet partially conscious in her seat. It took her several days, but despite her serious injuries, she was the only one to walk out of the jungle alive. She was so tough Werner Herzog even made a documentary about her.
      • Bahia Bakari was 12 years old when the plane she was in crashed in the Indian Ocean on approach to its destination. Barely able to swim and without a life vest (to say nothing of being very, very mentally traumatized) she managed to cling to a piece of wreckage for 9 hours before finally being rescued as the sole survivor of the accident.
      • Four-year-old Cecelia Cichan was the sole survivor of another horrific plane crash. Investigators speculated that her survival might have been due to her small size, which meant she was more protected by her seat than an adult in a seat of the same size.
    • This trope played out with tragic consequences in the case of Japan Airlines Flight 123. Convinced that no one could have survived the crash, Japanese authorities weren't as expedient in getting to the scene as they might have been, even turning down aid from U.S. military forces stationed near the crash site. It turned out that a small number of people had survived the initial impact, but many of those died from their injuries before help arrived. Even then, four people were rescued alive from the wreckage.
  • Cracked has 2 articles on this.
  • Hockey players Clint Malarchuk and Richard Zedník, players both survived their throats being accidentally slashed by an ice skate live on TV, during a game (separated by years).
  • Ordinary Signalman Ted Briggs, Able Seaman Robert Tilburn and Midshipman William John Dundas of the explosion of battlecruiser HMS Hood. She was literally blown into pieces by a hit in the magazines by battleship Bismarck in the Battle of Denmark Strait 1941.
  • Wim van Est, cyclist in the 1951 Tour de France. He'd gained the yellow jersey in the previous stage and was racing to defend it, but in doing so he lost control of his bike and fell down a 70-meter ravine. He survived the fall with only minor injuries, thanks to some trees breaking his fall. He actually got back to the racecourse and finished the stage, but abandoned the Tour shortly thereafter at the behest of his team. He would race in later Tours.
  • A Navy crewman once survived being sucked into a jet engine. He survived thanks to his helmet which jammed the engine and caused it to slow down. Here is a documentary about his survival.note 
  • The Chernobyl Divers (Alexei Ananenko, Valeri Bezpalov, and Boris Baranov) all volunteered to go down to Chernobyl's flooded basement to open the bubbler pool sluice gates and allow the basement to be drained before it could cause a catastrophic steam explosion. Despite the basement being hellishly radioactive and everyone considering it to be a Suicide Mission, all three lived. Baranov died in 2005 of a heart attack, while the other two lived to receive medals from Ukraine for their bravery.
  • In World War II, one of the US Navy's advantages was that its Damage Control procedures were so capable in dealing with weapons fire hits that the the Imperial Japanese Navy occasionally mistook ships they previously hit as separate ships, such as the USS Yorktown, because the Japanese continually underestimated how durable US Navy ships were.
  • British Airways Flight 5390 was going to be a routine flight for Timothy "Tim" Lancaster and his crew as they were bound for Málaga Airport in Spain. But shortly after takeoff, one of the BAC One-Eleven's windscreens separated from the plane, causing an explosive decompression which shot Lancaster partway out of the plane, his body pinned against the window frame for twenty minutes all whilst Alastair Atchison, the co-pilot, was fighting to get the plane to safety while his comrades hold on to Tim's body. 300-mile-per-hour winds and frostbite battered Tim to pulp, leading to his colleagues to assume that he's good as dead. They did contemplate ditching his body out of the way, but ruled it out as not only was throwing Tim's (seemingly-dead) body out a disservice to his relatives, his body would end up striking one of the engines, making the situation even worse had they done so. Atchison managed to land the plane with all of the passengers unharmed, but the crew were understandably sorry for whatever fate Tim had gone through. To the crew's surprise and relief, Tim somehow managed to survive the ordeal of having to ride face-first into violent winds and sub-zero frost, with frostbite, bruising, shock, and fractures to his right arm, left thumb, and right wrist. And after less than five months of recuperating from his injuries, Tim went back to service, piloting until he retired in 2008.
    Nigel Ogden: I mean, he's a very strong man. He must have been, to survive that.

Alternative Title(s): No One Could Have Survived That, Nobody Could Have Survived That