People always try to be prepared for disasters but sometimes, we find ourselves in situations we least expect. During these times, our will to survive is tested. We have heard of many heroic stories where people got lost for weeks, months or even years. When we finally find them, they have one very intriguing story that changes their whole outlook on life.
These 8 people have been in trying situations where no one would expect them to come out alive. Their stories are incredible and define motivation and inspiration. They encourage us to never give up no matter how high the odds are stuck against us.
1. He got lost in the desert and tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists. He was so dehydrated however, that the blood clotted his wounds. He was rescued 9 days later while 186 miles (299 km) away. He lived off bats, snakes and his urine and had lost 40lbs (18kg).
Mauro Prosperi is an endurance runner who took part in the Marathon Des Stables in 1994 in Morocco. Halfway through the 233 kilometre 6-day event, a sandstorm hit and he and his cousin James Duchkin lost their way. Prosperi got disoriented and ran in the wrong direction- 700 kilometers into Algeria. 36 hours later, he ran out of food and water and survived by drinking his own urine. He ate bats that resided in a mosque and the occasional snake he found in the desert.
He attempted to commit suicide by slitting his own wrists using a penknife. This attempt failed due to dehydration, which had caused the thickening of his blood and ultimately sealed the wound. 9 days later, a nomadic family found him and took him to an Algerian Military Camp and from there he was taken to a hospital. He had gone 186 miles off route and his body weight was 18kgs less.(source)
2. At 17 years old, he was the only survivor of a plane crash after he got ejected with his seat and landed upright in the middle of a street.
On January 21st 1985, George Lamson Jr. was on the Galaxy Airlines Flight 203 that crashed and burst into flames, about 2.4 km from the end of the runway. 71 people were aboard that flight but only three survived the impact. Unfortunately, one died on the 29th of January and the other on February 4th. The only survivor was George Lamson Junior, who got thrown clear of the aircraft only to land upright, still seated on his seat, on the South Virginia Street. His father had been one of the three initial survivors but he succumbed to his injuries while at the hospital.(source)
3. For 133 days, Poon Lim was lost at sea in an eight feet raft. He drank the blood of birds and caught sharks using a nail, water jug and rope.
At 25 years, Poon Lim was appointed second steward on a British Merchant Ship. They were a crew of 55 when the ship left Cape Town on 23rd November 1942. A few days later, a Nazi U-boat torpedoed them. The ship was sinking and on seeing this, Poon jumped overboard. The ship sank into the ocean and poon tried to gasp for air in between the waves. He found a raft after two hours of struggle, swam to it and hauled himself on board.
Poon found some tinned biscuits, a metal water jug, a small supply of fresh water, some flares and an electric torch. He rationed himself and only ate two biscuits per day and drank few sips of the water. With the supplies he had, he calculated that he would survive a month but Poon knew he had to find land when no one rescued him after a month.
He used the wire from the electric torch and a biscuit as bait to catch fish. After catching the first fish, it became easier, since he could use pieces of it as bait for his next catch. He also caught sharks and seagulls and drank their blood. He used notches that he made in the wood to track the days he spent at sea. He also exercised by swimming twice a day and this also helped his muscles from atrophying. On his 131st day at sea, he saw the color of water change and saw more kelp and birds.
On the 133rd day, a small boat rescued him. He had crossed the Atlantic and was just at the mouth of the Amazon River. Poon had lost 10 kg but still managed to stay strong. He could walk unaided even after the whole ordeal. He holds the record for the longest survival on a life raft. He however hopes that no one ever finds themselves in a similar situation.(source)
4. While in high school, she was sucked out of an airplane after it got struck by lightning. Still strapped to her chair, she fell 3.2 kilometres onto the ground and lived. She was the only survivor and had to walk for 9 days to find civilization.
Koepcke’s plane fell 2 miles from the sky and crashed. She was surprisingly still strapped to her seatbelt when it did and survived with moderate injuries. She was lost in the jungle for 10 days looking for help, until a group of Peruvian lumberjacks found her.(source)
5. Skydiver Joan Murray approached ground at 80 miles per hour after her parachute failed, and she landed on fire ants. The shock from being stung more than 200 times caused an adrenaline surge that kept her heart beating and allowed her to survive.
Joan Murray went skydiving on the 25th of September 1999 and jumped at 4400 meters. Unfortunately, her main parachute failed to open while her backup parachute quickly deflated after opening at 200 meters. She approached the ground at 130 km per hour and landed on an ant mound. According to doctors, the shock of more than 200 stings from the ants released an adrenaline surge that kept her heart beating.
She suffered serious injuries that shattered her right side of the body and knocked fillings from her teeth. She was in a coma for 2 weeks at the Carolinas Medical center but 17 blood transfusions and 20 reconstructive surgeries later, Murray survived.(source)
6. Police officer escaped a bullet thanks to a Nokia Lumia 520 that was in his pocket
A military police officer in Brazil had a Lumia 520 placed in his back pocket and “was taking his uniform to his mother to be washed when he arrived to find his parents being held hostage. The two criminals, seeing his uniform, opened fire. The officer fled and would have taken a round in the behind if it wasn’t for his mobile deflecting the bullet.”
The phone was completely destroyed but the officer was unscathed.(source)
7. A British marine flung himself back-first onto a grenade to save his fellow marines. The explosion threw him up in the air with his rucksack absorbing the blast. He got lucky and escaped only with a headache and a nosebleed.
30 year old Lance Corporal Mathew Croucher, from Solihull, West Midlands, accidentally triggered a trip wire while in Hemland Province, Afghanistan in 2008. He dropped to the ground immediately, lay across the grenade and got blown into the air as the grenade went off. He got the George Cross award, which is the highest decorations awarded due to acts of gallantry, for saving his comrades. He is among 20 living recipients who have received this award. “All I could do at the moment was shout ‘grenade’ before diving on top of it,” he said.
He had crammed his bag with equipment that helped cushion the explosion. Three of his comrades only suffered cuts and bruises as L/Cpl Croucher got thrown into the air. “It was incredible. I escaped with only a nose bleed and a headache. ” (source)
8. For two months, this Swedish man survived in a car that had been snowed over. He fed on snow and survived due to the “igloo effect”
In February 2012, two snowmobiles found an abandoned car in Sweden’s icy northeast. They dug through the snow only to find a man lying on the backseat. Peter Skyllberg said that for 60 days he had been trapped inside the car and lived off snow. His rescuers doubted his account but scientists confirmed that it was possible Skyllberg survived through the ordeal by his body hibernating and an “igloo effect” created insulation in the car. (source)