US Sergeant recalls his near-death experience: He saw three images flash before his eyes

MSgt. Israel Del Toro had a near-death experience in 2005, which made him rethink everything he thought he knew about death. Here's what happened.

US sergeant army near death experience three images flash before eyes
© Luis Alvarez / Getty Images
US sergeant army near death experience three images flash before eyes

Humans have been worrying about death forever. Whether we stress about what comes before, during, or even after we leave our earthly bodies, we can never have too much information on the subject. This is why, we love hearing about people who have died and come back to life. The man we will talk about today went through a near-death experience which had a massive impact on his life.

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Israel Del Toro drove over an IED in 2005

In 2005, then Staff Sergeant Del Toro died while he was deployed in Afghanistan. He accidentally drove over an IED, an Improvised Explosive Device, which exploded right under him. Immediately, images of moments that hadn't happened yet flashed before his eyes: him and his wife getting married in church, going on their honeymoon in Greece, teaching his son how to play ball.

Israel regained his senses and got out of the burning vehicle. He was completely engulfed in flames, from head to toe, when he remembered having just drove by a creek.

I tried to run to it but the flames overtook me and I collapsed. I remember thinking to myself that I’m going to die here. … Then one of my teammates helped me up and we both jumped into the creek to [extinguish] the flames, and the only sound I hear is that sizzle sound. Only it wasn’t a pan, it was my body.

He had never believed in NDEs

Israel Del Toro explained to CNN that he never believed in people seeing their life flash before their eyes as they died, that was until it actually happened to him. He fell into a coma in December 2005, and woke up in March 2006. His body was 80% burned. The smoke in his lungs had nearly killed him three times, and doctors gave him a 15% chance of survival, and if he did then he wouldn't be able to walk again or breathe without a respirator.

Israel Del Toro did not accept this diagnosis and fought to get out of the hospital only two months later, walking and breathing on his own. However, he had to come to terms with his new 'disfigured' face, saying he 'looked like a monster'. He was terrified his son would find him scary, but when he saw him again, the two simple hugged.

He comes up and gives me the most amazing hug. It’s probably the best sensation I’ve ever had besides him being born.

Refusing to let his accident dictate his life, Del Toro took five years to recover before re-enlisting in the army. He was the first disabled soldier to go back to work, and since then he teaches young soldiers.

Read more:

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This man died for several minutes, came back to life and revealed what actually happened

Sources used:

CNN: Man describes what he saw during near-death experience

Air and Space Forces Magazine: Israel Del Toro: Like a Phoenix

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