5 Amazing Wilderness Survival Stories Throughout History

Survival Nature River Backpack Man

People are able to endure a lot of crazy things, especially when it means life or death. Here are five incredible examples of humans surviving against all the odds.

Ricky Megee – 2006

January 24, 2006. Ricky Megee was driving down an isolated road when he says his car was highjacked by three male Aborigines men. Megee claims that the men drugged him and then dumped him somewhere out in the middle of the Australian Outback.

survival shelter in a forest

When he awoke, thanks to the wild dingo’s that were scratching at him while he lay in his shallow grave, he was confused and disoriented. That was the first day of 70 that he would have to struggle to survive in the Outback.

During his time, The Clymb reports that he survived by eating frogs, leeches, lizards and even cockroaches. Megee was able to find a dam, and so he was able to keep himself hydrated until he was found on April 6th by local farm hands.

After being stranded for more than two months in the wilderness, he was barely more than skin and bones and deeply tanned from the harsh desert sun.

Even though he made it out alive, to this day, his car or the carjackers were never found.

The Gremlin Special – 1945

May 13, 1945, the ‘Gremlin Special’ which was a US Army Air Force C-47 Plane, crashed into the mountainside in, then Dutch New Guinea. Out of the 24 passengers, only three survived the horrific crash, Lt. John McCollom, WAC Cpl. Margaret Hastings and Sgt. Kenneth Decker.

McCollom was the only one who wasn’t badly injured. The area where they crashed was largely inhabited and was, as Outdoor Life calls it, “a modern Stone Age.”

Old Survival Gear for Nature

The natives of the area were known cannibals, but they only dined on their enemies. The trio spent 42 days in the jungle under the care of the friendly natives. On July 2, 1945, the trio were rescued and brought back home to their families.

Steven Callahan – 1982

Another story from Outdoor Life, we learn about Steven Callahan, who boarded his small sailboat on January 29, 1982, in the Canary Islands and set sail toward the Caribbean. A week later, he ran into a storm at sea and the ship sink. Callahan was left drifting in the Atlantic Ocean in a small, 5 and a half foot inflatable raft.

The only things he had with him while he was adrift at sea for 76 days was a t-shirt that he was wearing, 3 pounds of food, a few bits of gear, and 8 pints of water. After drifting for 1,800 miles, he finally came across the land and was rescued in the Bahamas.

Callahan wrote a book, Adrift, where he details the mental strength one needed to be able to survive at sea. Callahan was alone throughout the experience, but his mind split into a “Captain” role and a “crewman” roll.

There was a written log that detailed the experience. One excerpt talks about a fight over the water ration, which the “Captain” won. Perhaps that is the very reason Callahan survived.

The Robertson Family – 1971

The Robertson family had been lost at sea for 38 days. It began when the father, Dougal Robertson, wanted to take his family on a boat trip to show them what Dougal’s son called the “university of life.” The six members of the Robertson family (mom, dad, and four children), boarded the wooden schooner and traveled to “parts unknown,” as Popular Mechanics says.

Members of Robertson Family

Though the family had been at sea for 17 months, they were doing fairly well. They sailed from port to port, taking in all the wonders of the world. However, on June 15, 1972, things took a turn for the worse when the family happened across a group of killer whales near the coast of the Galapagos Islands.

When the whales attacked the boat, the wooden schooner splintered and was damaged beyond repair. The ship was sinking, so the family and an inexperienced crew member had to use a lifeboat and a small dinghy. They only had six days’ worth of food, so to survive, they collected rainwater and ate turtles that they were able to capture.

The lifeboat only lasted 16 days before they had to abandon it and fled to a dinghy. The 10-foot boat was over capacity, but the group was able to hold on until they were found by Japanese fishermen on July 23, 1972.

Nicholas Joy – 2013

Laura Edwins, a contributor for Christian Science Monitor, shared a story of 17-year old Nicholas Joy. Joy was skiing in the Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine when he decided to look for a shortcut through the woods.Nicholas Joy

Adam Joy, Nicholas’ father, knew his was missing when the boy didn’t meet him in the Sugarloaf Ski resort’s parking lot as they had planned. The Sugarloaf ski patrol, Maine Forest Service, the US Border Patrol, and other services set out to find the boy.

The party searched for two days and nights until the weather got so bad, the search had to be put on hold.

In the meantime, the young man built himself a shelter out of tree branches and a mound of snow. Also tried rubbing two sticks together to start a fire. During this ordeal, he didn’t have any food or a cell phone.

On the third day, a volunteer firefighter who wasn’t part of the original search party found the teen, albeit hungry, tired, and cold, but ultimately unharmed.

“He did the right thing in building a snow cave,” Mr. Joy told The Associated Press. “Obviously he’s still alive to talk about it, so he made some good decisions.”

Man Trying to Start a Fire

It doesn’t matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, there is a way to survive. Whether you sustain yourself with turtles and rain water, or you find yourself under the care of friendly cannibals, there is a way to come out alive. Just keep a level head and do whatever you can to live, even if you have to split your psyche into two entities to help make decisions. Whatever it takes!

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