Some people go through the most unimaginable things throughout their lives. In one minute what seems like a normal day could suddenly turn into tragedy. These individuals ended up at sea for what they believed would be a normal day and then all of a sudden they end up being either stranded at sea or fighting to survive for their very lives. Take a look at these brave and fortunate people who survived these ordeals against all odds.
Catching Fish with Clothes as a Means of Survival
Louis Jordan hopped aboard his 35-foot sailboat for a day of fun one January. He was looking to catch some fish at the Gulf Stream. He set out from the coast of South Carolina. Somehow his boat capsized and he suddenly found himself in a world of trouble. To make matters worse, the mast broke as well.
He found himself having to survive by rationing water. He also used his clothes as a unique way of catching fish. He drifted around for a pretty long time in the Atlantic Ocean. He spent 66 days in the Atlantic Ocean and his boat capsized two more times before the Houston Express found him and rescued him.
“I Am Going to Get Out”
Jose Salvador Alvarenga set out on a journey in late 2012. He started his journey when he left Paredon Viejo, which is a port on the Pacific coast of Mexico. He left Paredon Viejo in either November or December o 2012. After leaving Paredon Viejo his ship got caught in a storm. His radio and engine and GPS systems went out because of the storm.
Alvaregna’s domestic partner Ezequiel Cordova died because he refused to eat raw birds to survive. Alvarenga ate sea turtles, birds, and even drank his own urine when rainwater was not available. Alvarenga was rescued when he was spotted by residents on the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro 13 months later when his ship made it to the islands. He told CNN later that his faith in God helped him to survive and said: “I thought, ‘I am going to get out. Get out, get out, get out.'”
Sharks, Drunks, and Dehydration
Deborah Kiley worked on a yacht called the Trashman in October 1982. She thought that she was going to have just an ordinary day on the job. John Lippoth was the captain of the ship and he took his girlfriend Meg Mooney with him for the ride. Two other people named Mark Adams and Brad Cavanagh were also aboard The Trashman that day. All of the crew members were going to Florida from Annapolis, Maryland.
Deborah Kiley knew something was wrong and notified Lippoth. Lippoth was drunk and did not heed the warnings and was drunk the entire trip. Lippoth was afraid of the ocean and Cavanagh and Kiley were the only experienced people on the boat. The crew got caught in a storm and the yacht was torn apart. A few days later Lippoth and Adams were dying from dehydration and drinking sea water. Lippoth became delirious afterward and tried to swim to shore which was miles away but was eaten by sharks. Adams jumped overboard complaining about cigarettes and jumped overboard and was eaten by sharks. Mooney was dying of blood poisoning days later and was tossed into the water and eaten by sharks. Kiley and Cavanagh were near death but were rescued by a Russian cargo ship near the coast of Cape Hatteras. They were rescued four days after they abandoned ship.
Three Teens Become Lost at Sea
Filo Filo, Etueni Nasau, and Samu Pelesa were accustomed to travel within Pacific island chains. The common method of travel is to use small boats to sail from one island to another island. Most of the islands are close enough together and it is cheap to travel this way and convenient. Samu Pelesa, Filo Filo, and Etueni Nasau used to this and set sail for travel on October 5, 2010.
The boys were traveling and then got lost. They were missing for weeks and survived on the little food they took and rain water. They stayed adrift for more than a month and they ran out of food and started drinking sea water. They were then spotted by a fishing boat and drifted 500 miles from home before they were rescued.
Zamperini’s Troubles Tripled During WWII
Louis Zamperini was an athlete who competed in the Berlin Olympics and placed 8th in the 500m dash. He then decided to serve his country in WWII. In 1941, Louis Zamperini enlisted in the United States Air Force and rose to the rank of second lieutenant. Zamperini was on a search and rescue mission in the Pacific in 1942 and the plane he was in suffered a mechanical failure. He and several crew members crashed in the ocean. Only Zamperini himself and two people survived out of the eleven crew members.
They were in enemy territory and survived by eating fish and birds. Weeks later he and one of the survivors were captured by the Japanese. He was sent to a POW camp in Japan and tortured for two years and was released when the war was over in 1945.
Matthew Bryce Spends 32 Hours in the Irish Sea
Matthew Bryce went surfing off of the northwest coast of Glasgow, Scotland. It was a little before noon that he went into the water on a Sunday morning. He suddenly was caught in a storm and he went adrift. His family members became worried and he went adrift a few miles from the coast of Glasgow.
The cold sea made conditions worse as Bryce held on to his surfboard and he was wearing a wetsuit. He held on to life by holding onto the boots and suit that were stuck to his surfboard and he started to suffer from hypothermia. It was Monday morning when he was finally spotted by the Belfast Coastguard who were flying in a helicopter. Matthew Bryce drifted 13 miles and spent 32 hours in the sea before he was rescued.
Three Friends Leave and Only One Comes Back Alive
Adrian Vasquez was asked by two of his friends to go on a fishing expedition. The fishing expedition was to be overnight and his two friends wanted his company while being on the overnight expedition. He agreed and set sail with his friends from the town of San Carlos in Panama on a small fishing boat.
The boys caught plenty of fish and all seemed well in the beginning of their expedition. For some unknown reason, the engine of their boat went out. The boys found themselves adrift and were forced to survive by eating the fish that was caught. A storm then swept his boat further away from land. Somehow Adrian’s friends died and he spent 26 days adrift. He was found by the Ecuadorian Navy and was severely dehydrated and starving.
Experience Cannot Prevent the Inevitable
Ron Ingraham is an experienced fisherman. He has been a fisherman for years and he makes his living by the sea. He feels comfortable making his living by going out and sailing on a boat and gathering fish. One Thanksgiving he sailed from the island of Molokai in Hawaii on a solo trip. He got caught in a storm and it forced the ship to sail backward.
A wave pushed the boat back into the water. Ingraham spent 12 days adrift in the boat and he sent a distress call out and the Coast Guard tried to find them. The Coast Guard called their search off on December 1, but his son Zakary believed he was still alive. Twelve says after the first distress call Ingraham was found emaciated but alive in South Honolulu.
An Earthquake and Tsunami Caused Hiromitsu Shinkawa to be Carried Away to Sea
All of the stories thus far with the exception of Louis Zamperini went adrift thanks to a storm or were captured in some cases, but here is a story that is entirely different. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake hit northeast Tokyo that registered 9.0 on the Richter Scale. A tsunami also hit the town. Hiromitsu Shinkawa was 60 years old at the time and found himself adrift.
He got separated from his wife and she was swept away. Shinkawa stayed afloat by holding on to the roof of his house. A little over two days later Shinkawa was seen on video amongst heaps of wood floating around and a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force rescued him.
The Rescuer Gets Betrayed and Marooned
Some people say that betrayal is worse than death. This almost applied to a captain by the name of Charles Barnard. Captain Barnard saw smoke coming from an island in which 45 British sailors were shipwrecked. Due to the War of 1812, Captain Barnard would only let the sailors aboard his ship if the sailors promised not to hijack his ship. Barnard and the sailors made their way to an island and he found food for the sailors by hunting pigs.
As the captain went hunting pigs, the sailors took his boat and left Barnard stranded on the island. Barnard and a few of his American crew survived by island hopping using a row boat until a British ship rescued them in 1814.
Robert Jeffrey’s Thirst Almost Cost Him His Life
A young man in the Navy should perhaps have a little drink every once in a while, but for Robert Jeffery, it almost cost him his life. Robert Jeffery was a sailor who was a member of the Royal Navy from the late 1700s and early 1800s. He snuck a drink into his quarters supposedly while he was a Navy recruit. His captain found out about this and gave him some cruel and unusual punishment by marooning Jeffrey on an island.
Robert Jeffrey then found himself on an island trying to survive. The crew of the HMS tried to reason with the captain about letting the young man back on board but the captain was believed to be inebriated himself. Nine days later and almost dying, Robert Jeffrey was found by an American Navy crew. The captain was subject to court-martial. The captain had to pay reparations to his former crewmates for almost killing Robert.
The Rough Terrain of Devil’s Island
Some places are named because of the nice or harsh conditions associated with their environment. One such place that exists is an island that is known as Devil’s Island. A man by the name of Bernard Carnot ended up on this island, but not by his own choice.
There is very little known about the life of Bernard Carnot, but it is known that he was the son of an innkeeper from New Orleans. He was sent to Devil’s Island in 1922 for a murder that he did not commit. Devil’s Island has a rocky terrain and is full of disease-carrying mosquitoes and violent prisoners. Carnot seemed to have disappeared after 16 years there, but a man named William Williams came to the island after talking to Carnot’s mother and he found Carnot wearing rags and hanging on for his life. Willis smuggled Carnot aboard a supply ship and sailed to Brazil.
The Peggy Crew and Forced Cannibalism
In 1765, the crew of The Peggy went on a trip in order to trade goods. After they were done trading the crew set sail to return to New York. It took them almost the whole month of November to return. During their trip, they were hit by various storms and other harsh conditions while they ventured across the Atlantic.
There came a point in their travel where the hull of the ship was damaged. The crew ran out of rations quickly and had to make very crucial decisions. They ended up having to eat a cat that was traveling with them. They eventually started eating the leather and candles on the ship. A slave was finally consumed as well. By January, a little bit of the slave’s body was left, but a ship traveling to London rescued the crew and even had food for them.
The Survival Experience that Inspired a Novel
It is a known fact that some stories and books are inspired by real life events. Author Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was inspired by the events that took place in the 19th century that involved the crew of The Essex.
In 1819, the Essex crew went out on a whaling expedition which was to last for two and a half years. During the second day of the crew’s voyage, a storm occurred and suffered serious damage. The ship was refitted and things were fine for a while. As the crew was still traveling months later, a gigantic whale rammed the ship. The crew salvaged what they could and they went to a nearby island. They eventually ran out of food and resorted to cannibalism. After a few deaths and crew separation, the captain, and some crewmen were rescued.
What Happened to the Other Survivors of the Essex?
Herman Melville probably sparked the interest in the crew of The Essex. Just like today, people want to know the story behind a book or a work and updates on the characters of these types of work.
After the perilous journey of the whaleboat crew, they happened to find their way to a place that we now call Henderson Island. The island was a wasteland and the only way the men got water was from rainwater collecting in rock pools. The men spent an average of 111 days on Henderson Island. Owen Chase was one of the crew members and he was the one who beckoned for help to search the Pitcairn Islands and this is why he and the remaining two survivors of the time lived to tell their story.
Jeronimus Cornelisz and the Mutiny
People sailing on The Batavia were shipwrecked in 1629 and made it to Australia. Jeronimus Cornelisz was an officer on the ship who tried to start a mutiny as another ship was wrecked from the Dutch East India Trading Company. The captain of this ship left and promised to return to the 300 survivors.
As the captain left, Cornelisz became the officer of the ship. He was worried about being arrested, and so he hoarded supplies with his men. He went on a torture spree soon afterward while scheming of a way to get off of the ship. A man named Wiebbe Hayes was an officer and came on a rescue ship just as Cornelisz prisoners “claimed” to have found food and Cornelisz planned on hijacking Hayes’ ship. Hayes and the survivors fought against Cornelisz with sling shots and pikes and stopped Cornelisz mutiny.
Serrano Survived the Impossible
Pedro de Serrano somehow ended up with a sunken ship. It is unknown exactly how his ship sunk, but he ended up finding his way to a Carribean Island. He reportedly swam to the shore of the island with a knife in his mouth. The island was actually a small strip of land and had very little vegetation.
Serrano had to survive with hopes that someone would find him. He stayed on the island a very long time, three years to be exact. A sailor passed by but got shipwrecked and eventually ended up on the same island. The men learned to survive and even divided half of the island up after a dispute. Serrano ate turtles and birds and was feral because of his ordeal. He was finally rescued later.
Become a Pirate or Else
Philip Ashton was a 19-year-old who lived in Nova Scotia. In 1723, he just happened to be working on a boat tending to his own matters. He was collecting fish off of the coast of Nova Scotia when all of a sudden pirates surrounded him. He and the sailors he was working with were captured and given an ultimatum: become a pirate or die.
Of course, Phillip Ashton chose the pirate route. This was not by choice, and Ashton spent eight months as a pirate trying to plan his escape as he did not want to be part of any pirate shenanigans. Ashton finally got off of the boat he was on and escaped. He was on an island and stayed on an island with plenty of food. Seven months later a group of sailors rescued him.
The Natives Were Restless in Madagascar
Robert Drury was a sailor who sailed to India aboard a ship called The Degrave. He would eventually make his way to the island of Madagascar because his ship was damaged. He and his crew made it onto the island. The natives of the island did not take friendly to Drury or his crew. For four days Drury and his crew ran from the natives but were eventually caught.
Everyone except for Drury and three other boys was killed by the natives. Drury was made a slave by the native Tandroy tribe and he was eventually freed. He spent 15 years on the island and escaped on an English slave ship. He eventually came back to Madagascar as a slave master.
Jukichi Holds a World Record
About 200 years ago, Oguri Jukichi was a sailor who was the captain of The Tokujomaru. The Tokujomaro was a freighter and Jukichi had a crew of 14 men with him. He and these men were transporting soybeans to a city called Edo. His ship suddenly got caught in a storm and the mast of the ship was damaged. The crew was sent adrift and the food and water that they had disappeared quickly. Luckily they had the soybeans they were transporting on the ship and also rainwater to keep them alive.
The crew members started to suffer from scurvy over the months due to the lack of nutrition. They started dying off because of this. After a year later three people were still alive from the crew, including Jukichi. He also suffered from scurvy and was near death until he and the two crew members were discovered by Americans in California. He was rescued and he holds a Guinness World Record for the longest time adrift at sea.