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Human beings are remarkably resilient. For all the tales of destruction or illness, we have a few that tell the story of someone surviving against all odds. Here are the most amazing survival stories around, that prove the ability of humans to keep on going no matter what they’re faced with.
1. Douglass Mawson was an Antarctic explorer in the early 1900s. He was trekking back to base with two compatriots when disaster struck and they lost most of their supplies, as well as one of his friends, down a crevasse. The remaining two soldiered on, despite being over 300 miles from camp. They ran out of food and had to eat their dogs, at which point Mawson’s other colleague died of hunger. All alone, Mawson pushed on until he also fell down a crevasse and was left dangling from his sledge. He managed to climb out, make the 32-day journey home and then found that he had just missed his boat.
He did send his fiancee a telegram upon reaching the base though: “Deeply regret delay only just managed to reach hut.”
2. Mauro Prosperi was a runner who entered the Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile marathon through the Sahara desert. During the race, a sandstorm whipped up, and despite the rule that runners should stop during storms, Prosperi decided to just keep running. When the wind died down, he realized he was horribly off course, lost in the middle of the Sahara. He wandered on until he found an abandoned shrine, where he tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists, but he was so dehydrated that his blood was too thick.
He decided he needed to stay alive, so he wandered on, surviving off of lizards, scorpions, and dew, until he ran into some nomads who kindly informed him that he was now in Algeria, over 100 miles from where he was supposed to be. He didn’t learn his lesson though: two years later he entered the race again.
3. Ricky Megee has the most dramatic entrance of any of our survivalists. His story starts with him waking up half buried in the Australian outback surrounded by a pack of dingos and no memory of how he got there. But Megee didn’t let that deter him. He spent 10 days fending off Australian nature before he put together a shelter for himself and lived for 3 months on leeches and frogs. He was eventually found by farm workers.
4. Juliane Koepcke was the only survivor of a plane that came apart in mid-air over Peru after it was struck by lightning. The reason it was so difficult to survive this was because she fell literally thousands of feet. Amazingly, the trees helped to cushion her fall and she only came away with a broken collarbone. Once on the ground she followed a stream for 9 days until she found civilization.
5. Steven Callahan makes All Is Lost look like child’s play. After his boat sank in the Atlantic Ocean, he spent 76 days adrift in the ocean before landing in the Bahamas.
6. Aron Ralston was hiking in Utah when his arm got trapped under a boulder that shifted. He was trapped in the wilderness with no way to contact the outside world. In order to survive he cut off his own arm and escaped.
7. During a trapping expedition, Hugh Glass was mauled by a bear, something that typically results in death. His leader left him behind with a couple of men who were to bury him upon his death, but they left while he was still alive. Not deterred, Glass dragged himself to a river and floated to Fort Knox, where he received proper medical attention.
8. Sweden is known for its extreme weather, but few people have to survive as much as Peter Skyllberg. His car was trapped in a snowdrift during one winter, and he survived inside of it for two full months, despite temperatures as low as -30, and only having a few snacks in the car.