Two Brothers Heroically Lift Van with Bare Hands To Save Toddler Crushed Underneath


Some days lifting yourself out of bed seems like a herculean effort. Yet no matter how much fatigue and the relentless pace of modern life may weigh on you, the human body is capable of amazing things.

People have swum the English Channel and even crossed the waters from Florida to Cuba. Marathoners cover scores of miles in a single go, and weightlifters heave huge loads above their heads.

But it isn’t just professional athletes who exhibit superhuman strength. Ordinary people sometimes do too when the situation requires it.

For instance, take what happened to British neighbors Donna McNamee and Abigail Sicolo. The Daily Mail reported that the women heard screams sound outside of their home one day.

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An eight-year-old boy had run out into the street while playing with a friend and been hit by a Renault Clio. With the help of McNamee’s father, the two women lifted the car off of the child.

Over at Psychology Today, Jeff Wise recounted how a man named Tom Boyle Jr. did something very similar. Boyle was driving when he saw a Camaro hit a kid on a bike.

He jumped out of his vehicle even as the sports car was still screeching to a halt. Without waiting for the other driver to exit, Boyle grabbed the car’s frame and heaved upward with all his might.

Amazingly, he lifted the vehicle and freed the bicyclist, but it came at a great physical cost. When Boyle got home, he discovered that he’d grit his teeth so hard during the ordeal that he cracked eight of them.

Scientists call this phenomenon hysterical strength, and though it hasn’t been closely studied, it seems to be real. Mental Floss noted the distress causes us to produce “adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that creates a state of fight-or-flight readiness in stressed humans (and) have the capability to raise the heart rate, dilate the pupils, increase respiration, slow digestion and, yes, allow muscles to contract more than they would normally.”

Perhaps that’s what happened with Casey Skinner and Dustin Allen. The Alexandria, Minnesota, brothers were enjoying a day at the park on August 25.

They were letting their dogs play when they heard a commotion erupt. At first, they believed the canines were causing problems.

“I thought it was because of the dogs getting into something,” Skinner told the Brainerd Dispatch. “But then I heard someone else yelling, ‘You ran over my baby.’”

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KSN reported that a driver in a minivan had rolled over a toddler. When the screaming started, the child’s head lay behind the driver’s side tire.

“The driver was going to back up, because he didn’t even know what the heck happened,” Skinner said. “And if he would have backed up, he would have killed her. Instantly.”

But before that could happen, the brothers sprang into action. “My adrenaline kicked in, and I knew I had to get that kid out from under the vehicle,” Skinner said.

The pair seized the minivan and lifted. Others rushed to help and got the girl free.

While the chemistry in their bodies probably helped, the brothers say they got their strength the old-fashioned way. “Constantly lift weights. Do a lot of deadlifting. Squatting,” Skinner said.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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