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Importance of Survival Skills

10 Incredible Survival Stories

10 Incredible Survival Stories


10 INCREDIBLE SURVIVAL STORIES 10. We all know that Everest is on a mountain
climber’s bucket list, but the north face of the Eiger comes a close second. During the 1930s the Eiger was particularly
busy as Austrian and German mountaineers competed to become the first to reach the top. This rush of activity resulted in a number
of casualties. Toni Kurz witnessed the fatalities of his
three climbing buddies before dying himself, just a couple of yards from people who had
come to rescue him. Kurz’s story was recreated by Heinrich Harrer
and titled ‘The White Spider’. It has also been made into movies: one from
a Joe Simpson novel titled ‘The Beckoning Silence’ and another by Philipp Stolzl – ‘North
Face’ – which was released in 2008. 9. The Marathon Runner Who Got Lost in the Sahara
Notorious for its difficulty, the Marathon des Sable is run over six days and covers
one hundred and fifty-six miles. If that wasn’t tough enough, it is run in
southern Morocco, through the Sahara Desert to be precise. You may wonder who on earth would enter such
a race, surely no one is crazy enough to take this mammoth marathon on… Well, Mauro Prosperi did. Prosperi is a policeman in his native Sicily
for whom he competed in the pentathlon at the Olympic Games. He was four days into the Marathon des Sable
when he was stopped by a sandstorm. The competitors are instructed to stop and
await help if this happens, but Prosperi didn’t follow his instructions. He was in seventh place and decided to continue
on in order to improve his placing. Wrapping a scarf around his head, he battled
through the sandstorm for six hours; when the dust began to settle he realised that
he’d got himself lost – very, very lost. So lost in fact that only he could see the
emergency flare he let off. Realising that he was absolutely and completely
alone, he decided that the best thing to do would be to keep walking. The Sahara is one of the most inhospitable
places on earth, and Prosperi was reduced to urinating in his water bottle in an effort
to survive. At some point, he came across a shrine where
he decided to call it a day. He drank the blood from two bats before slitting
his own wrists. His attempt at suicide didn’t work however,
as his blood had thickened due to his severe dehydration. He came to and decided to continue on. For another five days he walked the desert,
feeding on scorpions and lizards and drinking dew. Eventually he met some nomadic travellers
who were able to tell him where he was. He had crossed the border into Algeria and
was one hundred and thirty miles away from where he’d got lost. Determined not to let the desert beat him,
Prosperi put his name down to race two years later only to be rejected. He tried again the following year and was
able to complete the race – third time lucky it seems. 8. The Girl Who Was Adopted by Monkeys
When Marina Chapman was four, she was kidnapped. Her abductors jumped her from behind and then
she remembers nothing until she came to in the jungle of Colombia, alone. But she wasn’t alone for very long. A group of carablanca monkeys adopted her
and she lived with them, as one of them. She would steal fruit and rice from the local
villages and claims that the villagers hurled stones at her and her monkey family. This may all sound a little far-fetched, but
there are witnesses who corroborate her story. After living in the wild, Chapman says that
she collected together a gang of children who she led – presumably a bit like Fagin
from Oliver Twist – to steal. After a while, she was rescued by a family
but don’t think that Marina Chapman’s story ended there. Unfortunately for her, the family who adopted
her weren’t very nice people and they made her a slave, forcing her to sleep on the floor
and abusing her throughout her time with them. She finally had the opportunity to run away
and she escaped. Her first instinct was to seek refuge in a
tree – well, what would you expect from a child who had been raised by monkeys? It was at this point that Marina’s story turns
happy. She was seen by a lady who lived locally,
and rescued. The lady had a daughter who happily took the
child in and adopted her to be brought up as if she was her own child. Chapman learnt the ways of society and adapted
so well that she is married to an English church organist today. 7. Andes, 1972
In 1972 a plane crashed in the Andews mountains. There were forty-five passengers on the plane
at the time and twenty-nine were killed in the accident. On the plane were two members of the Uruguay
rugby team – Roberto Canessa and Nando Parrado. They took it upon themselves to go for help
and set off across the mountain range. What happened next is one of the most famous
survival stories of all time, thanks to the book and then film that was inspired by their
plight. In 1974 ‘Alive’ by Piers Paul Read became
a best seller prompting Frank Marshall to turn the story into a motion picture starring
Ethan Hawke. Nando Parrado wrote up his adventure for himself
publishing his story under a new title and finding fame in his native Uruguay. 6. Everest, 1924
Another amazing true-life adventure that has been recreated in novels and screenplays is
that of mountain-adventurer George Mallory and his trip with Andrew Irvine in 1924 to
the great Mount Everest. Mallory’s body was discovered seventy-five
years later, on the mountain in 1999. A number of writers have been captured by
the mystery of whether of not he succeeded in his mission to conquer the summit, or not,
a question which we will never know the answer to for sure. Jefferey Archer is the author of a screenplay
about Mallory’s trip; it was turned into his bestselling novel Paths of Glory later on. A more true-to-life version was written by
Peter and Leni Gillman which they called The Wildest Dream – a phrase Mallory himself used
to describe his trip. It was this title that Anthony Geffen took
up when he wrote his docudrama of the epic tale. 5. RICKY MEGEE
Ricky Megee was travelling through the Australian Outback in his car on the 24th January, 2006. That’s all he knew when he woke up in the
middle of nowhere. His car was gone, his stuff was gone and he
was lying in a shallow grave surrounded by dingos after an easy lunch. How he came to be in such a predicament is
anyone’s guess, but Megee thinks that he was high-jacked and drugged by aboriginal men. For seventy days Megee ate lizards, frogs,
cockroaches and lizards and drank from a dam he had come across. He was eventually discovered by farm hands
– locally known as jackaroos – skinny as a skeleton and tanned to leather almost by the
scorching sun. It was now the 6th April. His car and belongings were never traced. 4. ARON RAL­STON
Our next tale was made into the film ‘127 Hours’. It tells the story of Aron Ralston, an experienced
and enthusiastic climber and all-round outdoorsy type. He had decided to go out to Blue John Canyon
in Utah for a spot of biking and hiking, nothing too strenuous or serious, just a chilled out
kind of trip. He didn’t bother to tell anyone whereabouts
he was headed as he didn’t anticipate it turning into a big deal. Boy was he wrong. The problems started when he slipped. He was in a narrow canyon and his arm became
pinned down by an eight hundred pound boulder. He had a bottle of water with him which lasted
for five days, but when this ran out, Aron knew that he was now in real trouble. He hadn’t eaten anything and now he couldn’t
drink either. It was at this point that he knew he had to
make a desperate decision – starve to death where he was, or attempt to escape. It might sound obvious – clearly you’ll try
to escape – but what if your only option was to amputate your own arm?! We’re not kidding you, that’s exactly what
Aron did. He used his blunt pocketknife to cut off his
lower arm thus releasing himself from the rock. He then managed to get himself out of his
canyon prison and find help. 3. Juliane Koepcke
Juliane Koepcke was on LANSA flight 508 travelling over the rainforests of Peru when her plane
was struck by lightening. The aircraft broke apart and all of the crew
and passengers were killed in the ensuing accident… Everyone except Juliane. Despite plunging thousands of feet through
the air, Juliane remained in her seat, secured with her seat belt. Luckily for her, the jungle canopy broke her
fall, preventing her from serious injury or death when she landed. She found herself to be near to a stream which
kept her alive for nine days before she was discovered by loggers. Her only injury throughout the whole ordeal
was just a broken collarbone. She’s one lucky lady! 2. Snowboarding Gone Awry
Eric LeMarque, a former Olympic hockey player, decided to go out into the Sierra Nevada mountains
for a spot of snowboarding in March, 2003. He was having a good time, boarding along
the nearly three and a half thousand metre Mammoth Mountain when he went off course,
and got himself lost, really, really lost. He hadn’t been planning on it being a big
trip, he really thought he was just going to do a bit of recreational boarding and then
go home, a bit like you deciding to go for a walk, so he didn’t have anything with him. The one thing he did have came in really useful
though – his MP3 player. He used it to source a radio signal which
he could then use as a compass. He was so far off course though that he ended
up spending a week in sub-zero temperatures. During this time he managed to slip into rushing
water which almost carried him over a twenty-four metre waterfall drop. He ended up suffering from malnourishment,
exhaustion and frostbite, the damage from which was so bad that it was necessary to
amputate both of his legs. 1. Shark Attack
Bethany Hamilton, a competitive surfer at just thirteen years of age, enjoyed going
down to Makua Beach in Hawaii for a surf with her friend, Alana Blanchard – also a competitive
surfer. One day in November, 2003, Bethany and Alana
decided to go down to the beach early and Alana’s dad and brother – Holt and Byron – decided
to go along with them. But this morning wasn’t to be like all of
the others she’d enjoyed. At around half past seven, Bethany was attacked
by a massive tiger shark. It’s estimated to have been between twelve
and fifteen feet long. It bit off the whole of her left arm. You would expect panic to ensue, but as an
experienced surfer, Bethany knew that this would be the quickest way to drown. Instead she used her right arm to swim to
her friends, the whole time shouting to other surfers that there was a shark in the vicinity. Her calmness and sensible response to such
a dangerous situation surely saved her own life and helped prevent serious accidents
or even death for everyone else in the sea nearby that day.

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