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Interactive video lesson plan for: 5 Harrowing Survival Stories | What the Stuff?!

Activity overview:

Hundreds of people actually find themselves in harrowing survival predicaments every year. Here are some of the scariest!

10 Harrowing Survival Stories article:

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127 Hours trailer

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"Biomythos" by Revolution Void

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Let’s say you’re on Flight 815 when it crashes on a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere. Do you have the skills to survive? Hundreds of people actually find themselves in harrowing survival predicaments every year. Here are some of the scariest.

In 1982, Stephen Callahan was 6 days into a boat trip from the Canary Island when the ship sank, leaving him adrift on a 5-foot (1.5-meter) life raft. Callahan was rescued… 76 days later. He lived off only 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of food and 8 pints of water while his raft floated 1,800 miles (2,898 km). If that weren’t bad enough his raft sprung a leak and he fended off repeated shark attacks.

Snowboarder Eric LeMarque veered off course on Mammoth Mountain in March 2003 until he was completely lost. Using the radio signal from his mp3 player as a compass, LeMarque was still wandering for 7 days. The frigid temperatures and a fall down an 80-foot (24-meter) waterfall gave him such severe frostbite that both his feet and much of his legs had to be amputated.

Could you cut off your own arm with a dull knife? When an 800-pound (362.8 kg) boulder fell on Aron Ralston in 2003, he had no other choice. Pinned to a Utah canyon wall, Ralston ran out of food and water after 5 days. So he snapped his own bones and slowly cut away his muscles and tendon with a pocket knife. Even after this ordeal he rappelled down the wall and walked onward until hikers finally came across him.

In 1983, Hurricane Raymond dropped 50-foot waves (15.24 meters) and 140 knot winds on Tami Oldham Ashcraft and fiancé Richard Sharp as they tried to deliver a yacht from Tahiti to San Diego. Their boat capsized and Ashcraft was knocked unconscious. When she woke, Sharp’s safety line had snapped and he was gone… forever. Ashcraft survived by rationing her supplies, creating a makeshift sail and plotting a course to Hawaii that took her 40 days.

In 2006 Ricky McGee was driving down the Buntine Highway in Australia when he ended up off road, purportedly drugged by a hitchhiker. He walked 10 days, set up a shelter and then spent 10 weeks surviving on leeches, insects, snakes, frogs and lizards. He was found by ranchers at a cattle station, completely malnourished.

So what survival skills do you have if you found yourself in similar situations? Let us know in the comments and check out our article “10 Harrowing Survival Stories” on HowStuffWorks.com for more tales of shark attacks and pirate raids. And what the stuff?! Why haven’t you subscribed to our channel yet?

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