Survival shows seem to be the new trend on reality TV because they are full of suspense and life saving tips in case you ever end up stranded or deserted in a situation requiring you to survive. Things happen and they happen when you least expect them. Sometimes people are prepared for such instances however, most of the time they are left in the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These are times when the true will and goal of perseverance come to light and motivate people to overcome the impossible. We often hear about heroic stories of people who have gone missing or become lost, to turn up days, weeks, months or even years later with one hell of a story and a new outlook on life. These 22 people have been in a situation where nobody expected them to come out alive. Their stories are nothing short of incredible and define inspiration and motivation. Never give up hope and always push forward no matter how high the odds are stacked against you.
1. After the end of WWII, Hiroo Onoda spent 30 years hiding in the jungles of the Philippines surviving by hunting and foraging. He emerged 30 years after the war wearing a hand-made coconut fiber uniform because his had long since rotted away.
2. Poon Lim was stranded on a raft in the Atlantic ocean for 133 days before being rescued.
3. In 1982, Steven Callahan survived on a life raft for 76 days with only 8 pints of water and 3 lbs of food. He drifted over 1800 miles before being rescued in the Bahamas.
4. U.S. sailors from the USS Commerce, 1815-17, marched across the Sahara desert after being enslaved by Bedouins. The heat and stress of the situation caused one man to attempt to eat his own arm. The sailors drank camel urine to stay alive in the unbearable heat.
5. Aaron Ralston became trapped for 5 days when a boulder wedged his arm between itself and the side of a deep slot canyon in Utah. He had to break his arm and cut it off at the break with a blunt knife to free himself. He then hiked down the canyon after creating a tourniquet where he found a group of hikers who rushed him to rescue crews.
6. In 1972, Uruguayan Air Force flight 571 was carrying 45 people when it crashed into the Andes Mountain range. The passengers resulted to cannibalism as they survived for 72 days in the bitter cold mountains. Only 15 members of the flight survived.
7. In 1914, Ernest Shackleton and his crew were on an expedition in the Atlantic Ocean. After having to abandon ship, they survived for 16 days while making an 800 mile trek across the frozen ocean to safety.
8. Senator John McCain was a prisoner of war in 1967, in the Hoa Lo prison, in Vietnam. He spent 5 years in the prison suffering with 2 broken arms and a broken leg. He had been bayoneted and beaten by the North Vietnamese army. He spent a solid 2 years in solitary confinement and refused to go when he was released. There were other soldiers who were captured before him who had not been released yet. He thought they deserved to go home first.
9. In 1912, Douglas Mawson, an Antarctic explorer lost his crew and spent 30 days covering over 100 miles before finding a rescue party.
10. John Colter was captured by Blackfoot Indians in 1808. They stripped him naked and sent him running as a game. Their plan was a massive man hunt where they would hunt, find, capture and kill him. He managed to escape.
11. Leonid Rogozov was stationed on the Antarctic Russian in 1960. He started to experience symptoms of appendicitis so he preformed the surgery himself without local anesthetics.
12. In 1940, Slavomir Rawics escaped from the Siberian gulag and marched over 4,000 miles across the frozen tundra, the Gobi desert, through Tibet and over the Himalayan Mountains to safety in British India.
13. In 2005, Shin Dong-Hyuk escaped from a North Korean prison camp where he had to climb over the dead body of his friend, who was stuck on an electric fence, to freedom.
14. From 1704 to 1709, Alexander Selkirk was stranded on an island. The sailor spent the time foraging and reading his bible. He ultimately survived and made it off the island.
15. In 1823, Hugh Glass was mauled by a bear and left for dead. He crawled for over 6 months and 100 miles carrying his badly wounded body to safety.
16. In 1985, Joe Simpson broke his leg in an attempt to climb Siula Grande. He crawled back down 5 miles in 3 days and eventually made it to safety.
17. In 1971, teenager Juliane Koepche survived the crash of flight 508 in the Peruvian rainforest. She trekked through the jungle for quite some time before she was rescued.
18. In 1981, Yossi Ghinsber and his friend were trekking through the Bolivian Amazon rainforest. He was separated from his hiking partner and ended up becoming lost. He trekked for 3 weeks eating fruits and berries wandering alone before being found.
These people have some astounding stories and it goes to show that with a little luck and a lot of will and perseverance the impossible can be accomplished. I don’t know how I would react if I were ever stuck in a situation like these. I’d like to think I would try everything I had in me to conquer the odds but until we’re placed in the situation itself, we will never know. These guys beat the odds and their stories are truly inspiring.