The fight or flight response can be a powerful instinct. In dangerous situations, people have achieved extraordinary feats when they’ve decided to stay and fight. In many cases, adrenaline kicks in, giving people superhuman strength and an indomitable will during a crisis (like when a mother lifts a car to save a child). Sometimes, it also gives us the ability to make quick decisions that help save the lives of others even when it means sacrificing ourselves. Ready to witness the triumph of the human spirit? Here are 25 Remarkable Feats People Have Done When In Danger!
Blind since birth, this hero heard his eighty-four-year-old neighbor, who was also blind, cry for help over a baby monitor and quickly sprung into action. While the house was on fire, he scaled a chainlink fence and went inside the house, found the woman, and pulled her outside.
Imagine digging yourself out of not just one, but TWO avalanches. That’s exactly what this mountain climber did. After escaping the avalanches, he somehow also made it back down the mountain and 10 miles to the closest town. Did we mention he did this with a broken leg and crushed pelvis? He made a full recovery and started his own fitness company.
In 1971, this 17-year-old left Peru with her mother on a plane headed for her father in the Amazon. The plane was struck by lightning and crashed in the Amazon rainforest. All 92 passengers died except her. She was strapped to a row of seats that plummeted into the jungle, and somehow she survived. Following a stream in hopes of finding civilization, she was out there for 10 days, with her wounds filled with maggots and most of her time spent dodging crocodiles, piranhas, and insects. Eventually, she found a shack and a boat, but rather than stealing the boat, she stayed in the shack and was found by local lumberjacks who brought her to her father.
This man and his mother ran the Faraja Children’s Home in Ngong, Kenya, a place of refuge for children in a dangerous area. They housed up to 37 children. Omari was the only man on the premises and routinely chased off attackers. In one case, three men wielding machetes attacked him, and he fought them off with a hammer. Even when they struck him in the face with the machete, he kept fighting them off. Once he was fully successful, he locked all the children’s doors to keep them safe.
While waiting his turn to pull into traffic, this man turned superhero witnessed a driver run over and drag a bicyclist under his Camaro down the street for a few seconds. Boyle jumped out to help, and without even thinking, somehow lifted the car off of the injured bicyclist while the driver pulled him out. It’s your classic story of adrenaline-fueled power.
Similar to the previous story, this heroine also lifted a car off of someone; in this case, that someone was her dad. What makes this story unique is the fact that the car was also on fire, so after getting her dad out from under the car, she got in the burning vehicle and drove it away from her family’s house before it could explode. Thankfully, everyone survived!
This Japanese engineer stayed in Hiroshima when the first nuclear bomb was dropped in 1945. He survived, suffering severe burns and temporary blindness and deafness. He then went to his hometown of Nagasaki when the second nuclear bomb was dropped. He also survived that attack, though he suffered from leukemia, cataracts, and other illnesses. While this isn’t an “in the moment” type of feat like the others on this list, it’s pretty darn impressive that he lived to the age of 93…despite the danger of, you know, two nuclear bombs!
When trapped in her apartment with fire all around her, this mother of an eighteen-month-old did what she had to survive; she jumped out of a three-story window with her child. She suffered severe injuries to her back, but her child had just a scratch.
As this mother and her daughter walked on a trail near her home in Brackendale, B.C., a cougar attacked her daughter. Her maternal instincts kicked in, and she flung the 88 pound (40 kilogram) cougar off her daughter, grabbed her daughter, and took off running.
Jacklyn H. Lucas
While patrolling in Iwo Jima, this Medal of Honor recipient was attacked by Japanese soldiers. They threw two grenades at his location and rather than running, he jumped on top of the grenades, covering them with his body. He somehow survived. Undergoing 26 surgeries, he came out alive but with 250 pieces of shrapnel left inside his body.
When Kimberley Dear, 21, went up to go skydiving, her plane had engine failure soon after takeoff and went down. Her skydiving instructor, Robert Cook, realizing what was happening, grabbed Kimberley and calmly told her the plane was crashing and to focus on his voice rather than the what happened around them. He told her to lay on top of him so he would take the full force of impact. When they did crash, he took the full force of impact and died while Kimberley survived. She sustained severe injuries.
This Medal of Honor recipient who served in World War II for the United States Military never carried a gun. As a conscientious objector, he was derided and mocked most of his time in the military until, when in battle on Hacksaw Ridge, his compatriots saw his iron determination to save as many lives as possible. On May 5th, 1945, when his company was in retreat, he decided to stay behind and rescue those left behind. He saved 75 lives on his own, lowering them down the steep cliff one by one.
During the occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany, this brave woman and Polish social worker infiltrated the ghettos where Jewish men, women, and children were held in horrid conditions, and smuggled them out to stay at convents or with non-Jewish families. She rescued 2,500 children during the time. Eventually, Nazis captured and tortured her at Pawiak Prison before sentencing her to death. Fortunately, resistance members bribed the prison guards and released her. She died in 2008 at the age of 98.
While her father worked on his BMW 525i at their home in Glen Allen, Va., this hero found him trapped underneath the car and unconscious. He wasn’t breathing and his heart had stopped. Yelling for her mom to call 911, she sprang into action and lifted the car up and off her father. She instantly started CPR and after two mouth-to-mouths and three sets of chest compression, he started breathing again.
Joining the Marines, this hero was sent to Vietnam in 1965. During an ambush in a rice paddy, he tried to help his fellow Marines, but at each turn, he was attacked. First, he was shot in the hand. While trying to help his platoon leader, he was shot in the knee, and while treating a fallen comrade, he was shot through the right cheek below the eye and out the left jaw. Regardless of his wounds, he pushed forward and kept fighting. He pulled a wounded soldier into a hedgerow and picked off enemy soldiers before heading back to his command post, disoriented from blood loss. It wouldn’t be until 1998 that he would receive the Medal of Honor.
This soldier and founder of the Polish resistance during World War II was the only man known to volunteer to be imprisoned at Auschwitz. When he went inside, he recruited resistance fighters and learned of the gas chambers. Gathering evidence and information inside the camp, he sent messages in 1941 to Britain and the United States about the Nazis extermination of the Jews. However, after realizing the Allies had no plans to liberate the Jews, he and a few others escaped from the prison after two and a half years staying there.
When Pakistani militants entered her home, demanding food and beds for the night, this twenty-one-year-old woman’s father refused, and he was beaten for it. In response, she struck one of them with an ax, took their AK-47, and shot the terrorist dead. She continued to shoot at the other militant as he ran away. Police hailed her bravery and nominated her for the president’s gallantry award.
Sir Ernest Shackleton
Joining an expedition in 1901 to the Antarctic, disaster struck for this man and his crew when his ship, the Endurance, was crushed by ice. They drifted on sheets of ice for months until reaching the deserted Elephants Island. Shackleton and a few others took a 22-foot lifeboat and headed for South Georgia where they found a whaling station and organized rescue efforts. When they came back to rescue the remaining crew on Elephant Island, none of them had died. His entire crew was saved.
Warren “Tiny” Everal
While Vietnam vet Steve Kux tried to land a helicopter, it suffered electrical problems, and he lost control, crashing it into a nearby stream. His co-worker, Warren “Tin” Everal, sprung into action and somehow found the strength to lift the helicopter off of Kux and save him.
When realizing a school bus driver was incapacitated while driving, this New Mexico mother ran after the bus and got a student inside the bus to pull the lever to open the door. Once it was open, she hopped inside and pressed on the brake before attending to the bus driver who was suffering a seizure.
After finding a man trapped in his truck as it teetered over the road and risked falling into the river, this teenage hero risked his life to save the man inside. He crawled into the hanging wreckage and successfully pulled the man to safety. Had the truck fallen into the river, the man would have assuredly been crushed by the trailer behind it.
On September 16th, 1976, this professional swimmer saw a trolleybus, carrying 92 passengers, lose control and drive into freezing water. He didn’t hesitate to dive in after the bus which sank 32 feet (10 meters) deep. He broke one of the windows with his foot and one by one saved 20 people’s lives. He pulled more out, but not everyone made it. He stayed in the water for 20 minutes and did approximately 30 dives to save them.
A Nazi businessman who firmly believed in Nazism, this unlikely hero was stationed in China and helped shelter 600 people during the Rape of Nanking, a brutal conquest by the Japanese that murdered, tortured, and raped 300,000 prisoners and civilians. Ironically, he used Nazi flags as safe zone markers for victims. He and his family faced constant threats from Japanese soldiers with guns and bayonets.
Living in a small village of three-hundred people near the Hudson Bay in Quebec, this mother turned around and saw a polar bear sizing up her seven-year-old son. She told the surrounding children to run and got in between the bear and her son, immediately kicking and punching it. When it swatted at her with its paw, knocking her down, it got on top of her, but she kicked at its legs with a bicycle motion. A neighbor heard the noise and brought a gun, firing a few warning shots, before firing at the bear and killing it. Fortunately, this brave mother only suffered a few scratches and a black eye.
This man has 26 world records specifically within cold endurance. Performing great feats while in dangerous situations is practically his entire life. His entire body remained in ice for one hour and fifty-two minutes once, and he ran up Mount Everest in shorts. Because of these feats and many more, he’s nicknamed “The Iceman.”
Did these stories give you the feels? You will definitely need to check out 25 Awesome People Who Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.