Stories of survival often include extraordinary challenges, hardship, and a broader tragedy. But most of all, they inspire.
These survivors experienced tough situations – hurricanes, tornadoes, and avalanches – and lived to tell about their ordeals. In some cases, their lives depended on the quick thinking and kindness of strangers, while a few made bold sacrifices to ensure the safety of others or themselves.
From earthquake survivors in Japan, to Chilean miners trapped for more than two months, the themes that unite these 11 tales are resilience, perseverance, and courage.
AP / Maine Warden Service
In early March 2013, 17-year-old Nicholas Joy of Medford, Mass., tried to find a shortcut through the woods while skiing and became lost west of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine.
Nicholas's father, Adam Joy, knew his son was missing when he didn’t meet him in the ski resort parking lot as planned. The Sugarloaf ski patrol, the Maine Forest Service, the US Border Patrol, and other area rescue squads and volunteers searched for Nicholas for two days and two nights, though weather conditions were bad enough at night that the search had to be suspended.
Nicholas, recalling survival reality TV shows he’d watched, made himself a shelter out of a mound of snow and tree branches. He also tried to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Nicholas had no food or cellphone with him.
A volunteer firefighter who was not part of the official search parties found the teenager the morning of the third day. Nicholas was hungry, tired, and cold – but 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.”
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