10 Of The World's Most Incredible Survival Stories

It’s nearly past lunchtime and you're worried that you haven’t had a chance to eat yet. You start losing concentration and your mind starts wandering, thinking about your next juicy meal.

For most, skipping a meal or forgetting a jacket on a cool day is as far as you will get to surviving a bad day. You might get a little cold or a little hungry, but for the most part you've probably never had to fend for yourself in a real life survival situation.

From surviving for weeks without food or shelter to turning to cannibalism, these are some of the craziest survival stories to put your bad day into perspective.

10 Man Survives 76 Days Adrift a Raft

Think the movie Castaway was insane? Think again. In 1982, Steven Callahan – an American author, naval architect, inventor, and sailor - set sail from the Canary Islands on a small boat he built himself. Thinking he would only be gone for a short trip, Mr Callahan packed light, carrying only three pounds (1.3 kilograms) of food and eight pints (3.8 litres) of water, a solar still and a makeshift spear.

Unfortunately for Mr Callahan, his boat sank only six days into the trip, leaving him adrift on a 5-foot (1.5 meter) life raft for a stunning 76 days until his rescue. Mr Callahan's raft travelled approximately 1,800 miles (2,898 kilometres) for the duration of his time stuck out at sea. He managed to survive against all odds – which included shark attacks and his raft puncturing 43 days in.

9 Teenager Survives Plane Crash and 9 Days After in the Peruvian Rainforest

via todayifoundout.com

At just 17 years old, Juliane Koepcke was on her way to a family gathering for Christmas in 1971, sitting beside her anxious mother on a LANSA flight 508. Little did either of them know that a freak accident would leave Juliane as the sole survivor of the crash and alone in the depths of the Peruvian Rainforest, for 9 straight days with a broken collarbone. It was a tragic lightning strike that split the plane in two and sent Juliane (still trapped in her seat) tumbling a crazy two-miles down to the jungle canopy – which actually cushioned her fall.

Thanks to her parents introducing her to the rainforest at an early age, Juliane was able to use her survival skills to help her live through the 9 days in the rainforest with her injuries. She spoke about how she treated her injuries. “I remembered our dog had the same infection and my father had put kerosene in it, so I sucked the gasoline out and put it into the wound. The pain was intense as the maggots tried to get further into the wound. I pulled out about 30 maggots and was very proud of myself.

8 Teenager Survives 2 months in the Australian Bush

via huffingtonpost.com

Partially blind, six stone (20-30 kilograms) lighter and covered in leeches was how 18 year old Matthew Allen was found after a "survival mission" in the Australian Bush. The teen, who has a mental condition, was rescued early last year after leaving his family home without extra clothing or his mobile phone in November 2013.

Matthew attributed his main source of survival to drinking water from an almost dried up creek bed. On top of his drastic weight loss (that was half his body weight) the teen also suffered from gangrene to his lower limbs. Incredibly, his conditions were not life threatening.

7 Two Men Survive Plane Crash and Hike for 10 Days to Raise the Alarm

via parrado.com

Sound familiar? Maybe you've heard about this? It’s very likely you did, as this inspirational and insane survival story caught the attention of the world media and went on to become a best-selling book and movie.

Uruguayan rugby players Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa, along with 14 other passengers,  survived when their plane crashed and killed the remaining 29 passengers on board in the Andes in 1972. They also then made an epic 10 day trek across the mountains to raise the alarm. 72 days later the survivors had sustained themselves in the snowy and freezing conditions by eating fellow deceased passengers.

It was this story, of their fight for survival, which saw them resort to cannibalism that became the 1974 best-seller ‘Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors’ by Piers Paul Read. The story was also the inspiration of the movie ‘Alive’ with Ethan Hawke, along with the Parrado’s own recount of the event in his book ‘Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home’, that kept the world forever intrigued and fascinated by this story.

6 Man Survives 5 Days of Being Trapped by Bolder by Amputating His Own Arm

via wikipedia.org

Another story that should sound slightly familiar, Aron Ralston's survival was highly publicized. His story led to box office smash film ‘127 Hours’ starring James Franco. Back in 2003, Ralston packed his hiking boots, a hydration system, his backpack, climbing equipment, and a pocket-sized utility tool. He put his mountain bike in the back of his truck and drove almost five hours to a remote part of Utah for a solo hiking trip, which he had told no-one about.

Unfortunately for Ralston, during a particularly narrow slot of his hike, a boulder weighing 800lb (360 kg) became dislodged and crushed Ralston’s right forearm, pinning it against a wall. It took him an astounding four days to build up the courage and do the unthinkable – which was to amputate his arm with his only blunt knife.

Speaking of the event, Ralston said 'I felt my bone bend and I realised I could use the boulder to break it. It was like fireworks going off – I was going to get out of there.’ Amazingly, after the ordeal, he scrambled down a 65 ft (18 metres) wall and walked until hikers found him.

5 Man Wakes Up From 18 Hour Deep Hypothermic Coma After Climbing Mt Everest

via peopleus.blogspot.com

Back in 1996, Dr. Seaborn Beck set off with nine mountain climbers to conquer his dream and tackle the mighty Mount Everest. What followed was a nightmare, after which Dr. Seaborn would never be the same again.

After finding himself stranded on the notorious mountain, he ended up in a deep hypothermic coma for 18 hours. Dr. Seaborn almost died. Miraculously, he survived, but not without terrible injuries that saw him lose parts of his arms, face and foot. Despite this, Dr. Seaborn now holds a more positive perspective on life and is enjoying it more than ever before.

In his book ‘Left for dead’ Dr. Seaborn spoke of the event saying “I can tell you that some force within me rejected death at the last moment and then guided me, blind and stumbling — quite literally a dead man walking — into camp and the shaky start of my return to life....” His book went on to achieve great success, being adapted into the films ‘Left For Dead’ & ‘Everest’.

4 Two Men Get Lost in the Amazon Rainforest For 3 Weeks and Survive To Tell The Story

It’s not often you'll hear that anyone who has been lost in the notorious Amazon Rainforest has survived to tell the tale. But Yossi Ghinsberg and his friend Kevin were part of the lucky few, though their other two friends were not.

In 1981, a naïve Ghinsberg set out on his adventure and met some friends along the way who shared a similar interest. It was only when they got lost in the rainforest that they realized they hadn't packed enough supplies.

Ghinsberg’s two other friends were never seen again after a disagreement saw the team separated. In the 3 weeks that followed, the journey wasn't exactly easy going; Ghinsberg's raft hit a rock and Kevin and Ghinsberg were split up. Ghinsberg was alone in the wildernesses for 19 days before he was found thanks to the dedication of his friend Kevin.

3 Teen Suffers Horrendous Injuries After Car Crash and Walks Again Despite All Odds

23 year old Katrina Burgess has all the attributes that any other model would. At 17 she signed a modelling contract. What sets this model apart from the rest is the horror crash Katrina survived just months before signing.

At only 17, Katrina was told she would never walk again after surviving a 70 mph car crash with a broken neck and back, punctured lungs, broken pelvis and left leg and several ribs. After countless life threatening surgeries and a total of 11 metal rods, Katrina is now able to live day to day without painkillers. Katrina says ‘It felt strange when I woke up after having it, my neck felt weird and I couldn't sit in certain positions. But I was so relieved when I could feel my legs.’

2 Man Falls 47 Stories and Makes a Full Recovery

In 2007 two window washers, brother Alcides and Edgar Moreno, took an ordinary cleaning job in New York. Sadly neither men were wearing their safety harnesses and tragedy ensued as both men plunged 47 stories to the ground.

Edgar was killed on the spot, but miraculously Alcides was not. He was left in a coma with multiple ­fractures to his ribs, right arm and both legs, as well as damage to his spinal cord. Yet, he eventually woke up and was able to walk again.

Dr Philip Barrie, from New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said: “If you're a believer in miracles, this would be one. I've seen it all – or at least I think I have – until something like this happens.”

1 Man Survives Hippo Attack

via dailymail.co.uk

After serving in the British Army, Paul Templer went back to his native Zimbabwe and became a river guide. It was part of his everyday life - taking tourists down the beautiful planes of the Zimbabwe Rivers that he was so familiar with.

But one fateful trip in 1995 almost ended in tragedy for Paul. The usually cautious guide knew to normally avoid one particular hippo, but when that same hippo attacked another guide, Paul attempted to save him.

Paul was swallowed whole by the animal and was somehow able to escape, but he was left with no other choice but to amputate his arm – although this has not stopped Paul in continuing his river guided tours.

He says of his incredible survival tale:

“I was engulfed in darkness. There was no transition at all, no sense of approaching danger. It was as if I had suddenly gone blind and deaf. I was aware that my legs were surrounded by water, but my top half was almost dry. My arms were trapped but I managed to free one hand and felt around – my palm passed through the wiry bristles of the hippo's snout. I wriggled as hard as I could, and in the few seconds for which he opened his jaws, I managed to escape.”

Sources: nytimes.com, .dailymail, cnntheguardiantelegraph,

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