The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told

Living creatures will try and survive no matter what’s thrown at them. Here are six of the greatest survival stories.

1. Ernest Shackleton – Expedition of Antartica

Ernest Shackleton launched an expedition in 1914 of Antartica. During the expedition his ship, Endurance, hit ice which forced him and his team to pursue the rest of the journey on foot. Over a two year period, Shackleton led his crew across ice floes and finally to Elephant Island, where they lived for six months on blubber and seal meat.

Shackleton then crossed 800 miles of ocean to South Georgia Island, and hiked across the uncharted territory to find an inhabited whaling station and return three months later to Elephant Island for the rest of his crew.

2. Touching the void

Joe Simpson and Simon Yates descended the summit of Siula Grande in the Andes in 1985, however on the way down Simpson slipped and broke his leg. The men devised a plan where Yates would lower Simpson gradually down the mountain using their ropes – which worked fine until Simpson went over a cliff, leaving Yates holding the rope and not knowing if his friend was dead or alive. After an hour of agonising about the decision, Yates cut the rope and, now badly injured after a fall, struggled down to base camp. There he found Simpson, who had hopped five miles to reach camp after landing when the rope was cut.

3. Alive

The story of a Uruguay rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes in 1972 has become famous worldwide. 16 of the original passengers survived the ten weeks on the side of the mountain, by eating the flesh of the passengers who had died. Finally two of the team, knowing help wasn’t going to arrive, hiked for days out of the mountains and brought rescue to the party.

4. Mark Inglish and Phil Doole – The Climb of Aoraki Mt Cook

Climbing New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki Mt Cook in 1972, Inglis and Doole built an ice cave for shelter when a blizzard hit. They waited for the storm to pass, but help wasn’t able to reach them for two weeks. Both men had to have their legs amputated because of loss of circulation, and Inglis became the first double amputee to climb Mt Everest in 2006.

5. Aron Ralston – Blue John Canyon

In 2003, Aron Ralston was hiking the Blue John Canyon in Utah when an 800 pound boulder fell on his arm and pinned it to the canyon wall. Ralston tried to get free for five days, but when his food and water ran out he had to take drastic action. He used the boulder to move his trapped arm until the bones snapped, then used his pocket knife to hack at the arm muscles and tendons. Ralston’s story became the 2010 film 127 Hours.

6. Mike the Chicken

Unlucky chicken Mike had its head chopped off by farmer Lloyd Olson in 1945 when Mrs Olson asked Lloyd to kill a chicken for supper. Nothing unusual there – except that Mike lived for another 18 months and became a travelling celebrity, drawing crowds who would watch him strut about and try to peck the ground. A post-mortem after Mike died found that although his head was severed, most of the brain stem had been left intact, meaning he could still carry out basic functions without a head.

The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told Reviewed by Sandipan Chakraborty on June 20, 2011 Rating: 5
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