Strange Survival Stories

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To my surprise, they started telling me an experience that obviously had touched them, so much that they needed to talk about it. They told me about a man who had crashed his single-engine plane in the desert near there, about 20 miles from the nearest road. In the crash, he had broken his radio and broken his leg. This was before GPS systems or cell phones that could connect from remote places.

“If you’ve ever been out here,” the older officer told me, “you know that even making it to one of these roads doesn’t mean you’re saved. It might be days before someone comes by. He was in deep shit.”

I can’t describe the pilot well, as I was hearing the story second-hand. Apparently, he was some kind of finance hotshot from back East, a man in his early 40s who didn’t know much about the desert. He didn’t realize that he should travel by night to keep cool, so he traveled by day, in the heat of the sun.  He had only a little water, and didn’t know any of the condensation tricks that can supposedly keep you hydrated.

And because of his broken leg, he could not walk. Yet he somehow dragged himself through the desert for two and a half days, until he reached a road and collapsed, breathing shallowly, his heart racing.  A Navajo rancher came by, threw him in the back of a pickup and took him to the clinic on a nearby reservation. The staff got an IV in and hydrated him, and he lived!

And nobody could believe it. The patrolmen said they had been there to write a report on the case the next day.  “The man was not a physical specimen,” said the older one. “He had a body sorta like mine.  I asked him, ‘Hey, Buddy, how’d you do that? Because you were out there way too long.’”

According to the cops, the man answered, “I don’t know how I did it.  But I can tell you one thing.  The day before I left to come out here, my wife of 15 years, whom I dearly love, told me she has been sleeping with my best friend, and she was leaving me and moving in with him.”

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5 Responses to Strange Survival Stories

  1. Great story! I laughed my tuchus off! I’ve heard of this before — being angry enough to take care of yourself, but not written out so nicely.

  2. DJ Woolley says:

    “Do not go gentle into that dark night….”, there’s something to be said for that. Am reminded of stories and anecdotes I’ve come across through the years about people who’s work or accomplishments I admire. Many of these idols are exposed as being somewhere on the spectrum between “difficult” and “Pit Bull”. Consequently, I no longer expect saintliness or Job-like humility from my role models (although it WOULD be nice), but rather have concluded that, given the effects of Murphy’s Law, The Peter Principal, and plain entropy, it may take a Pit Bull to accomplish anything. Or, in some cases, just survive. Life is unfair and death is inevitable – best to meet both head-on.

  3. If revenge is the reason to survive, then be vengeful! Some thing redeeming, like this blog, will come along.

  4. Kimber says:

    My mean old grandfather died at 99 years old. Outlived all my other grandparents. His motivation? The smartest one lives longest. He lived to prove he was smarter than everyone else. Didn’t make for great relationships, but he certainly got a lot of mileage out of it. At 92 he eloped to Vegas with his home care worker. She gave him seven more years. Smart.

  5. Clayton says:

    A lie has no legs.

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