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10 Unusual but Remarkable Stories of Saviors that Deserve a Mention

6. During the sinking of the cruise ship MTS Oceanos, the captain and the crew were the first to flee, leaving all passengers on board. The entertainment staff took control, successfully evacuated people, and saved everyone on board.


The MTS Oceanos set sail from East London for Durban in a poor condition on August 3, 1991. While it was on its course, a severe storm built up in the sea which was so strong that it rocked the ship. The engine broke down and the water began entering the ship from the engine room’s sea chest. The ship was flooding. The captain and the crew, instead of following the protocol, fled. They did not raise an alarm, and the passengers got to know about the flooding only when the water reached the lower decks.

When this happened, the entertainment staff, including Moss Hills, his wife Tracy Hills, Julian Butler, and Robin Boltman took the lead. Hills organized the orderly evacuation of the passengers. Moss, Tracy, and Julian were the last to leave the ship. Women and children were put onto the lifeboats first. The remaining lifeboats could not be used as the ship tilted severely to the right and the other 225 passengers had to be airlifted by the South African Air Force. (1, 2)

7. An agricultural scientist, Norman Borlaug, developed new strains of crops which doubled the yield increasing food security. He is said to have saved the lives of at least a billion people worldwide from starvation.

Norman E. Borlaug
(Image 1) Norman Borlaug. (Image 2) Norman Borlaug spent over 30 years working with Mexican farmers to develop new strains of wheat and corn. Image credits: the University of Minnesota, Norman Borlaug via achievement

A Noble Peace Prize laureate, Norman Borlaug was an agricultural scientist who led the Green Revolution. He is famous for his research that led to the development of semi-dwarf, high-yield, and disease-resistant wheat varieties that were introduced in the 20th century to Mexico, India, and Pakistan. This increased food production in these three countries drastically bringing food security. Between 1965 and 1970, the production of wheat increased two times in India and Pakistan, and Mexico became an exporter of the crop. He also helped increase food production in other parts of Asia and Africa. In September 2006 when the Senate of the United States passed the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Act of 2006 as a Congressional Tribute, the act stated, “The number of lives Dr. Borlaug has saved more than a billion people.” (source)

8. Stanislav Petrov is known as the man who saved the world by preventing WWIII. His computer indicated that the US had fired several missiles. He was asked to retaliate, but he didn’t as he decided that his computer was faulty and urged against a launch. He was right but was still reprimanded.

Stanislaw Petrov
Image credits: Logtv via faz

A lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces, Stanislav Petrov actually saved the world. Had he not exercised restraint, WWIII would have happened. On September 26, 1983, the Oko nuclear-warning system detected that the United States had launched a missile. Petrov was the duty officer at the time. Convinced that this was an error and the machine was faulty, Petrov went against the protocol and disobeyed his orders to retaliate. If Petrov had followed the orders, a large-scale Armageddon would have ensued. He was initially praised for his presence of mind but was also reprimanded. He is known as the man “who single-handedly saved the world.” In 1984, Petrov left the military and started working at a research institute that had developed the early-warning system for the Soviets. He retired later. (source)

9. Christopher Lucas, a Pizza Hut manager, saved 18 lives during the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri but lost his own. He made people step into a walk-in freezer and held the door shut by strapping his arm to it saving their lives.

Christopher Lucas
Image source:

“I’m going to bring you home a pizza, I love you with my whole heart,” was what a Pizza Hut manager, Christopher Lucas, told his wife the day before he saved 18 lives and passed away. When the tornado struck in Joplin, Missouri with the wind speeds touching around 300 miles per hour, Lucas saved 15 customers and three employees by holding the door of the freezer shut by tying his arm to its handle. It was his idea to get everyone inside the walk-in freezer of the restaurant, and it worked, but the speed of the wind was too strong, the door blew away, and Lucas was gone. Everyone else was saved. (source)

10. Muhammad Ali, the famous boxer, saved the lives of 15 Americans who were held hostage in Iraq by negotiating with Saddam Hussein all by himself by traveling to Iraq. He was suffering from Parkinson’s disease then.

Muhammad Ali is known across the globe for his boxing. What he did in August of 1990 also deserves a mention. After Sadam Hussein released thousands of foreigners in Iraq and after Iraq took over Kuwait, he kept 15 American men and held them in buildings that were targeted for the United States. Ali went to Iraq on November 23, 1990, without much back-up.

He wanted to meet Hussein, but Hussein kept him waiting. A week later, Ali, who was suffering from Parkinson’s, ran out of his medication. He couldn’t get out of bed or talk. Ali’s liaison from the United States Embassy, Vernon Nored, found medication at Irish Hospital in Baghdad and gave it to Ali. The next day, Hussein agreed to meet Ali on November 29. This meeting was open, and the media was present. After Ali patiently listened to Hussein, he told him that he would take an “honest account” of Iraq back home to which Hussein said, “I’m not going to let Muhammad Ali return to the US without having a number of the American citizens accompanying him.” On December 2, 1990, Ali and the 15 men flew back to the United States safe and sound. (source)


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