August 23, 2006. Austrian 18-year-old Natascha Kampusch escapes her kidnapper Wolfgang Priklopil more than eight years after he took her captive. Kampusch was 10 years old and walking to school in March 1998 when Priklopil bundled her into a white minivan. He took her to his house outside Vienna and locked her in a five-square-metre, windowless and soundproofed cellar underneath his garage. At first Kampusch was confined to her cell day and night but gradually she was allowed in the rest of the house, in the garden and even on one occasion on a skiing trip. Priklopil gave her books and a radio with which she was able to give herself something resembling an education. One day, while she was cleaning Priklopil’s car, he took a phone call and Kampusch seized her chance to escape to a neighbour’s house. Priklopil took his own life later that day by jumping in front of a train. Kampusch, now 23, has written a book of her experience and hosts a television talk show. She also owns the house in which she was held captive for 3096 days.
Also on August 23: Scottish knight William Wallace is executed in London (1305); start of the Battle of Stalingrad in WWII (1942); Armenia declares independence from the Soviet Union (1990).
Born on August 23: King Louis XVI of France (1754), Gene Kelly (1912), Shaun Ryder (1962), Kobe Bryant (1978).