50 True Tales and Facts About Courageous Rescues

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1Cruise Ship Overboard Incidents

Cruise Ship Overboard Incidents

From 2009 to 2019, out of 212 cruise ship overboard incidents, only 48 people were rescued.


2. The US responded to the kidnapping of a 27-year-old American during the 2020 Nigeria Hostage Rescue by dispatching 30 Navy SEALs, 3 AC-130J Ghostriders, 8 CV-22B Ospreys, 6 C-17A Globemaster IIIs, 5 KC-135R Stratotankers, 8 MC-130J Commando IIs, 1 P-8A Poseidon, and 1 Gulfstream V.


3. In 2020, a baby elephant struck by a motorbike while crossing a road in Thailand survived after an off-duty rescue worker performed CPR on it. The man had worked in rescue for 26 years and performed dozens of CPR attempts on humans, but the elephant was the first victim he had ever managed to revive.


4. The USS Rhode Island, an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, rescued five stranded fishermen in 2009. After they had managed to cling to their capsized boat for four days in the Atlantic Ocean, the submarine crew spotted them. They received treatment on the hull until an auxiliary ship arrived to rescue them.


5. Sleeping Bear Dunes is notorious for people getting stuck at the bottom, with rescue fees reaching up to $3,000. The dunes can reach 450 feet or higher, with some so steep that the shoreline is invisible from the top, often catching ill-prepared visitors off-guard.


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6Ketamine in Thailand Cave Rescue

Ketamine in Thailand Cave Rescue

To rescue the kids from the flooded Thailand cave in 2018, the boys were given ketamine to keep them unconscious and prevent them from panicking during their six-day rescue.


7. In November 1942, a plane made a forced landing on a Greenland ice cap. During the rescue attempts, six more planes either stranded or crashed, resulting in the survivors enduring five and a half months of sheltering on the glacier before they were all rescued.


8. In 2010, a Canadian man rescued a newborn baby from a dumpster, only to find out he was the father.


9. In 2010, a stranded man in the Saskatchewan wilderness cut down some power lines, necessitating the arrival of rescuers.


10. In 2009, nine women were rescued from a villa in Istanbul, where they were deceived into believing they were participating in a Big Brother-type reality show. However, it turned out to be a criminal organization, holding them captive for about two months. Their exploitation included selling their naked images online.


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11French Soldier Sleeps Rescue

French Soldier Sleeps Rescue

During World War 1, authorities found a distinguished French soldier, Albert Severin Roche, sleeping during duty and sentenced him to death. However, a messenger arrived just before his execution and revealed the true story: Albert had crawled for 10 hours under fire to rescue his captain before collapsing from exhaustion.


12. In 1983, NFL running back Joe Delaney died while attempting to rescue three children from drowning, despite not being able to swim himself.


13. In 2020, two 16-year-olds got lost in the Canadian wilderness while snowboarding but managed to stay warm by burning their homework. The following day, rescuers saved them, preventing frostbite and sustaining only minor injuries.


14. In 2001, 13-year-old Boy Scout Cody Clawson went missing near Yellowstone Park for over 18 hours. Using his belt buckle to signal planes overhead, he caught the attention of pilot and Hollywood actor Harrison Ford, who rescued him.


15. In 2003, two Australian teens spent 22 hours in a tree above rising floodwaters after a crocodile killed their friend. The crocodile then stalked them through the night and most of the morning, until a helicopter rescued them.


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16'Frostbit Boy' Dolphin Ocean Rescue

'Frostbit Boy' Dolphin Ocean Rescue

A 'Frostbit Boy' was rescued from the ocean in 2021 after being in the water for 12 hours and surrounded by a pod of dolphins.


17. Richard Norris Williams survived the Titanic sinking but spent too much time in freezing water, leading to a doctor recommending the amputation of both his legs. He refused and went on to win his first tennis tournament, becoming the Wimbledon doubles champion in 1920.


18. In 2009, four prison inmates, incarcerated for various offenses, rescued a correctional officer from another inmate. Despite their criminal backgrounds of assault, armed robbery, home invasion, murder, and sex offenses, they saved the deputy because he treated them like human beings.


19. In 1942, RMS Laconia was sunk by a German U-boat, prompting rescue operations broadcast on open radio. However, with the deck full of survivors, USAAF bombers mistakenly sank the boat, leading the German navy to abandon further rescue attempts for civilian survivors.


20. In 2022, a 30-year-old was swept by the sea while swimming in Halkidiki, Greece, along with a friend who was never found. He was rescued 20 hours later, holding onto a tiny football ball, 26 kilometers away from the beach they were swept from.


21Tongan Castaways Island Commune

Tongan Castaways Island Commune

Six boys, nicknamed the Tongan Castaways, stole a boat and found themselves stranded on a deserted island in 1965. They were stranded there for 15 months before being rescued. In a real-life Lord of the Flies scenario, the boys established a "commune" featuring a garden, permanent fire, gym, and badminton court.


22. The collapse of the San Jose mine in Chile trapped all 33 miners nearly half a mile underground for 69 days before their successful rescue on the night of October 12, 2010. This remains the longest underground survival story on record.


23. A man named Kevin Hines attempted to end his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. When he resurfaced, he felt a sea lion nudging his body, helping to keep him afloat until the Coast Guard rescued him.


24. On September 8, 2009, Sgt. Dakota Meyer defied a direct order to pull back from his position so he could rescue wounded soldiers from a firefight a mile away. He courageously returned five times, ultimately saving the lives of 36 soldiers, stating, "That's what you do for a brother.".


25. In 2006, a young couple lost for three nights in the San Jacinto mountains was rescued, aided in part by a signal fire ignited using matches found in the abandoned camp of a lost hiker who had disappeared exactly one year prior to their predicament.

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