There are movies about people beating impossible odds, but most of these tales are just fiction. There are some people out there who, through a combination of luck and resourcefulness, actually defied nature and survived through the toughest conditions this planet has to offer. These are their stories.
1. Anna Elisabeth Johansson Bågenholm
In 1999, this Swedish radiologist was trapped for 80 minutes in a frozen stream under a thick layer of ice. Before she was rescued, her body dropped to 56.7 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest recorded survived body temperature in medical history.
2. Mauro Prosperi
This long distance runner lost his way in a marathon through Morocco. 36 hours into the desert, he lost food and water, and was forced to drink his own urine to survive. He was found in an abandoned mosque 130 miles off the marathon’s course. At one point, he even tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists, but his body was so dehydrated that the blood just clotted.
3. Vesna Vulovic
She wasn’t supposed to be on Yugoslav Airlines Flight DC-9 in 1972. Due to name mix up, she boarded the flight, which was exploded by a terrorist’s bomb. The explosion caused the plane to fall 33,000 feet, crashing into a mountain and killing 28. One survived: Vesna Vulovic.
4. Frane Salek
Depending on how you look at it, he is either the luckiest man in the world…or the most unlucky. In his lifetime he has survived two car crashes, a bus crash, a derailed train, and a plane that lost it’s door while airborne. Salek then won the million dollar lottery in 2003.
5. Roy Sullivan
It’s hard to say that lightning never strikes in the same place twice. Mr. Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times in his lifetime. It wasn’t lightning that eventually killed Sullivan, but an unrequited love that led him to shoot himself in the stomach.
6. Joe Simpson
This man was part of the mountaineering duo who became the first ever to climb the west peak of Siula Grande. Along their way, Simpson fell 100 ft into an ice crevasse. Somehow, over the course of three days, he climbed his way out and made it to the peak.
7. Anatoli Bugorski
In 1978, Anatoli was working as a scientist on a particle accelerator when he was hit by a beam from the machine. It should have killed him. Although the beam went through his skull with 200,000 rads, he survived and even went on to finish his Ph.D. Previously, it was believed that just 500 rads could kill a person, by the way.
What are the chances that someone in these situations would actually survive? Much like Han Solo when he jetted the Millennium Falcon through the astroid field, these people refused to hear the odds. Unlike Han Solo however, these people aren’t fictional characters.