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Stella Marris College Rugby Team
This story has been immortalized into the movie known as “Alive.” A plane crashed into the Andes Mountains in October 1972 carrying the Uruguayan Stella Marris College rugby team and resulted in the death of 12 people out of the 45 people on board. Five more passed away the following day due to their injuries, another group on the 8th day, then 8 more in an avalanche on the 17th day. The movie chronicled the lives of the 16 survivors, who struggled through extreme conditions epitomized by their eventual turn to cannibalism. They were only rescued from their 72-day saga when Nando Parrado and Robert Canessa hiked for days and sought help from a passing Chilean horseman.
In his book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” Aron Ralston detailed his nightmare when an 800-pound boulder fell on his arm, pinning it to the canyon wall in a remote area in Utah on May 1, 2003. After five days, his food and water was all gone and he had to resort to something drastic, as it was very unlikely for someone to find him. He amputated his arm by sawing it with a blunt pocketknife, rappelled down the 65-foot wall, and was found by hikers on the way to his car.
The 1914 Antarctic expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton offered potential crew members a dangerous mission to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent. There were 28 crew members (Including Schackleton) who responded to the call of a perilous journey. These crew members had no guarantee of a safe return; endured low wages and bitter cold months, with only honor and recognition as its price. Sailing on “Endurance,” they got trapped within the Antarctic ice and remained trapped until the ship finally sank on November 21st 1915. Fortunately, however, everyone managed to survive. The men eventually where able to make their way to Elephant Island from which they were rescued.
During the Mexican Revolution, Wenseslao Moguel was captured on March 18, 1915 and was sentenced to death by firing squad. Shot eight times by the squad and one close-range shot through his head to make sure that he was dead, he feigned death until the shooters left. He miraculously escaped and has come to be known as Mr. Ripley from “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” show.
Joe Simpson and Simon Yates
In the book, “Touching the Void,” Joe Simpson shared the disasters that struck in 1985 when he and Simon Yates were descending from the 20,813-foot high Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. Simpson slipped and broke his leg, and as he was being lowered by Yates, he went over the cliff, dangling from the end of the rope. Yates made the controversial move of cutting the rope; a move shunned by other mountaineers but believed to have ultimately saved their lives. Despite his injuries, hypothermia and extreme dehydration, Simpson was able to make it back to camp three days later.