Urban Legends - Tuesday October 23

urban legends(2/15)

Continuing on Five tonight is the new series exploring popular urban myths. Each episode uses interviews and reconstructions to present a number of tall tales, only one of which is actually true. Viewers have the chance to guess which one really happened before the answer is revealed at the end of the show. Tonight, Urban Legends recounts three remarkable tales: the story of a Slovakian ski coach who found a novel way to save himself from a snow drift; the incredible survival of a man run over by a steamroller; and an unusual suicide bid gone wrong.

The first of tonight’s urban myths is the story of ski instructor Yann Bondra, a fast-living Slovakian with an insatiable lust for beer. On a snowy night in Slovakia, Bondra picked up 300 bottles of beer before heading off to yet another party. However, he was exhausted from days of working and partying, so made the fateful decision to park his car by the side of the road to rest his eyes: “I think it’s safer if I take five minutes to pull the car over and take a little rest,” he explains.

But Bondra fell into a deep sleep and woke hours later to find himself buried in a 20-foot snow drift. Unable to dig himself free, Bondra decided to stay calm, put on some music and crack open a beer: “Basically I think: if I’m going to die, at least I’ll die drunk,” he says. Bondra’s impromptu party unexpectedly proved to be his salvation, as he soon had to answer a call of nature, and rolled down the window to relieve himself. As he did so, he realised his urine was melting the snow, providing him with an escape. “I owe my life to Slovakian beer!” Bondra exclaims.

The second fantastic tale on tonight’s show is that of construction worker Andrew Jepson from Wolverhampton. Jepson was working on a noisy building site at Heathrow airport when a steamroller came up behind him and landed on his foot. The control lever malfunctioned and the helpless driver ended up rolling over Jepson. But amazingly, Jepson survived with only a few bruises and broken ribs, when the four-ton roller should have flattened him. “I can’t explain how I managed to survive it,” Jepson says. “It doesn’t seem humanly possible.”

The last tall tale in tonight’s episode is the story of US army private Jonathan Overton, who – whilst serving at a military base in Stuttgart, Germany –found himself under the thumb of a brutal army sergeant named Glen Harris. Sgt Harris picked on Overton and assigned him to clean corridors with a monstrous 100-pound floor polisher called ‘Big Bertha’.

In his misery, Overton decided to kill himself by tying the cord of the polisher around his neck and throwing the machine out of the window. “I hoped it would either choke me or rip my head off,” Overton explains. But the cord around his neck never tightened because the floor polisher’s fall was broken by Sgt Harris’ truck – which happened to be parked beneath the window. Private Overton survived while his nemesis, Sgt Harris –who was in the car at the time –was crippled by Bertha. All three stories have been circulated for years – but which one of these unlikely yarns is true? All will be revealed at the end of the programme.

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