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The 10 Most Shocking Survival Stories

“Death waits for no man”. That's an undeniably morbid idea and can make many of us paranoid. Some of us never really entertain the idea of our own mortality - until we're placed in life-threatening situations - while some of us think about it every day and constantly think of ways to 'cheat death' in a Final Destination-style manner. Either way, death is eventually unavoidable; but some people have found ways to put off the inevitable by surviving in the face of extraordinarily trying and even seemingly hopeless circumstances. Some of the most harrowing survival stories sometimes depicted in literature or on the silver screen often start off innocuously; a vacation, a road trip, travelling from a major event. Then, disaster strikes. There may be casualties involved and an ensuing desperate fight for survival.

We may never know why one person survives a fall that would've killed others - it's a bit of a mystery, and if you’re religious it could be proof that there's a higher power at work. Or it could be that these people just got extremely lucky, knew how to use their wits or were particularly physically or mentally capable in a crisis. Some of the most incredible survivors, whose stories we're about to tell, have something from all of the above categories. Most of us have seen or heard of the movie 127 Hours, which tracks the frankly unbelievable - but true - survival of Aron Ralston who cut off his own arm to escape from a boulder which trapped him. This is just one of many fantastical stories about people young and old who survived seemingly impossibly dire situations. Whatever it is that marks these people out as survivors against these odds, the stories give us a glimmer of hope for the tenacity and resilience of the human spirit.

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10 Bethany Hamilton

9 1972 Andes Flight Disaster

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8 Sophie Tucker

7 Tsutomu Yamaguchi

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6 Juliane Koepcke

5 Gerrit Blank

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4 Matt Suter

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3 Aron Ralston

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2 Harrison Okene

1 William Rankin

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