15 Incredible Human Survival Stories


From people getting lost in the desert to the sole survivor of a terrifying plane crash, we count 15 times people evaded deaths in the harshest circumstances known to man

15 – Chris Stewart


  • This is a story from Fareham, Hants with a 12-year-old who was racing around in his 1,000CC Mini when it hit a barrier at 40mph
  • In what is referred to as an internal decapitation, Chris’s skull was severed from his spine and he was given a measly 10% chance of survival, with doctors claiming he should’ve died instantly
  • Amazingly in 2006, they reattached his skull using metal plates and bone grafts – and within a few years he was off racing again

14 – Steven Callahan


  • It was in January 1982 that Steven set sail on his small sailboat from the Canary Islands bound for the Carribean, but not even one week later his ship sank in a storm, and he was left adrift on an inflatable rubber raft
  • For 76 entire days he drifted with nothing but a shirt, three pounds of food, some gear and water – eventually he washed up on the Bahamas
  • He then wrote an autobiography of the whole ordeal, so impressive that Ang Lee the director of Life of Pi asked Steven to become a film consultant on living aboard a life raft

13 – Bethany Hamilton

2003 shark attack board (C)Noah

  • An early morning in November 2003 when Bethany went surfing in Hawaii
  • She was out with her best friend Alana and their family when a tiger shark around 4 meters in length, rose out of the water and tore Bethany’s left arm clean off the shoulder
  • Instead of panicking or crying, this 13-year-old girl swam back to shore with her one good arm, even warning other swimmers nearby to get out of the water
  • Pretty much the toughest girl of all time

12 – Joe Simpson


  • If you’ve ever seen the documentary, Touching the Void, then you’ll already know this guy’s story, but for those that don’t:
  • Joe was being lowered down a crevasse because of a broken leg when he disappeared from view, so his friend Simon Yates was forced to cut the rope, sending Joe to what seemed like certain death
  • Instead, it turned into a 3 day fight for survival in a frozen tundra, slowly moving through the snow on a broken leg, half-frozen until his return
  • If you haven’t seen the documentary, highly recommend it, very powerful stuff

11 – Mark and Phil


  • Another ice story, this one set in 1982 on the high slopes of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki Mt. Cook
  • The two men Mark Inglis and Phil Doole built an ice cave to escape the blizzard, waiting for it to pass, but unluckily it kept up for 13 entire days – and all they had were meagre rations with no prospect of warmth
  • Unfortunately the circulation was cut off in their legs and they had to be amputated, which is something you should never have to go through at 23 years of age
  • Crazily enough, they still climb to this day with Inglis becoming the first double amputee to conquer Everest, losing fingers and flesh in the process


  • Wat (32%)
  • Epic (24%)
  • Creepy (20%)
  • Lewd (12%)
  • No (12%)