Over the years, many of us have watched videos online or on the news regarding people who have survived through what they thought was going to be the end of their lives. However, fate was on their side and these lucky individuals did what they had to in order to escape deaths grip. Here are 10 people who survived the impossible.
Norman Ollestad Jr.
Norman Ollestad Jr. was 11 years old when his plane crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains during a blizzard. His father died during the crash and he was left with his father’s girlfriend, Sandra, who suffered from a broken arm and a severe head injury. Unfortunately during the storm, Sandra had fallen down the mountainside to her death. Against all odds, Norman plunged forward, and made the trek down the mountain until nine hours later, he was finally rescued.
In April of 2003, Aron Ralston was hiking through Blue John Canyon in Utah. During his hike, a boulder had dislodged and trapped his arm against a rock wall. He survived five days on 12 fluid ounces of water and two burritos. The first three days Aron did what he could to try and pull his arm out but to his dismay, failed. After that he started getting things together to amputate his arm. In order to do so he had to break his own radius and ulna and spend an hour removing the rest of the arm with a cheap two-inch knife. He had 8 miles to walk to find his truck, but luckily ran into a family who gave him oreos, water, and alerted the police. Six hours after amputating his arm, Aron Ralston was rescued.
Amy Racina planned on a 17 day solo trek in California at the King’s Canyon National Park. On day 12, Amy was hiking on a hillside that gave away under her, plummeting the outdoorswoman 60 feet or 18 meters into a ravine, where she shattered bones in both legs and broke her hip. Knowing that no one would come to look for Amy for another five days, she spent three days and nights dragging herself with her hands through the ravine until another hiker heard her calling for help. Soon afterwards she was flown to a nearby hospital.
In August of 1823, Hugh Glass was a part of a fur trapping group in Perkins County, South Dakota when he surprised a grizzly bear with two cubs. After his trapping partners killed the bear, Glass was left with exposed ribs, suppurated wounds, and a broken leg. Two men were directed to stay with him until he died but shortly after the group left they did too. After gaining consciousness, Glass set his own leg and used bear hide to wrap it. He leaned against a rotting tree to let the maggots eat his dead flesh to prevent gangrene before surviving six weeks on roots and berries until he made it to the Cheyenne River. There he ran into friendly Native Americans who gave him enough supplies until he finally made it back to Fort Kiowa.
Waking up face down in a hole with Dingos trying to eat you isn’t necessarily the best way to wake up. In 2006, Ricky Megee, an Australian man who had been drugged by a hitchhiker after his car broke down, survived 70 days in the Australian outback. Megee had built himself shelter by a dam and survived off of eating raw leeches, grasshoppers, and drying out frogs. Instead of moving forward to find civilization, Megee stayed mostly at his shelter. After accidentally jumping out in front of a farmer’s jeep, Ricky Megee was taken to a hospital where he was treated for malnourishment.
On December 24th of 1971, LANSA Flight 508 was struck by lightning and split over the Peruvian rainforest, leading to the death of 91 out of the 92 passengers. Juliane Koepcke was still buckled into her seat as she was plunged 10,000 feet or 3,050 meters through the rainforest canopy before landing on the ground. The 17 year old survived the crash with a severe cut on her right arm, a broken collarbone, and one eye swollen shut. With only sweets that she had found for food, Juliane spent 9 days making her way through the rainforest vegetation until she found a stream and followed it until she had found a boat and shelter. At this point, the wound on her arm was severely infected, so Juliane used gasoline for her wound and counted dozens of maggots crawling out of her skin. Not wanting to steal the boat, she stayed there until her rescuers came and took her to the hospital.
In 1994, Mauro Prosperi entered Marathon des Sables, which translates to Marathon of the Sands, in the Sahara Desert. Participants were told to not move forward during a sandstorm which is the exact opposite of what Prosperi did. He ended up off course and after 36 hours and running out of food and water, Prosperi found an abandoned Muslim shrine where he ate bats and used his own urine for a source of hydration. Not wanting to die in that fashion, he had attempted to kill himself by slitting his wrists with a knife he had on him. Due to the dehydration, his blood became thicker and clotted. After 9 days of venturing in the Sahara desert, Prosperi was found and taken to a nearby hospital.
Imagine lounging around your grandmother’s trailer in nothing but your underwear when all of a sudden a tornado decides to take you on a 1300 feet or 400 meter joy ride. On March 12th of 2006, Matt Suter, a 19 year old student from Missouri, was lifted out of a trailer by a tornado. The only injuries he had were minor cuts and one head wound that required 5 staples. After landing he made it to a neighbor’s house to soon find out his other family members survived under the remains of the trailer. Matt holds the world record for longest distance carried by a tornado.
After retiring, we imagine a peaceful life filled with fishing, gardening, and relaxing. Coolidge Winesett, a 75 year old retiree from Virginia, could not have predicted the situation he was about to get himself into. Winesett commonly used an outhouse in order to relieve himself, until one day, the dry rot had gotten the best of him. He had fallen through the outhouse and into a playpen of his own waste. Winesett was stuck for three days, unable to get out of the 5 foot or 1.5 meter hole due to being partially paralyzed after a stroke. A mailperson became concerned with unchecked mail and decided to check on him. Hearing Winesett’s calls for help and his crutch still outside the outhouse led to Winesett’s rescue from the dukie of hazard.
Harrison Okene was a cook on a tugboat that had capsized in May, 2013. After going underwater, he had barricaded himself in a room where he was trapped and surrounded by sharks and barracudas that were eating the remains of the other crew members on the boat. Harrison Okene survived within an air pocket for over two days on just one can of Coke while sitting on two mattresses trying to stay afloat. A dive crew came to retrieve the bodies of the crewmembers and to their surprise, they had found Harrison. Now that Okene is back home with his family, he made a vow to God that he would never go to sea again.