During the 2011 Japanese earthquake, 50 workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant did not leave even though 750 others had been evacuated. For four days they kept the reactor from melting down until backup arrived, saving countless lives.
In 2012, a 56-year-old Russian grandmother named Aishat Maksudova fought off a wolf with her bare hands and killed it with an ax. She said, “So the wolf was just clawing into my left hand, pulling on it, pulling away like this and then I took the ax and hit him on his head.”
During the 1912 Thule Expedition, Arctic explorer Peter Freuchen got buried deep under snow after a snowstorm. Lacking any spears or daggers, he used his own feces to fashion a dagger with which he freed himself. During another expedition in 1926, gangrene got his toes because of frostbite and before it got worse, he amputated his own toes with a hammer without anesthesia and replaced his leg with a peg.
In 2002, when Keith Lovegrove saw his car being stolen, he jumped a fence and sprinted after it. He leapt through the air and clung to his vehicle's bumper, where he was dragged for over 20 meters. He opened the trunk and as the car went over a speed bump, he used its momentum to summersault into the trunk. He burst through the back seat and proceeded to grab the thief in a headlock, dragging him out of the car. Unfortunately, the thief then punched him in the face and escaped. Keith was a 54-year-old ex-soldier at that time and officially registered as disabled.
During World War 1, Dominic “Fats” McCarthy was awarded the Victoria Cross after he; virtually unaided, killed 22 Germans; captured 5 machine-guns, 50 prisoners; and half a kilometer of the German front. When it was over, even the prisoners he had captured patted him on the back for what he had done.
Erich Hartmann was a German fighter pilot during World War 2. From 1940 to 1945, he engaged in 824 air fights and he shot down 352 Allied aircraft without being shot down even once. The Soviet pilots nicknamed him Cherniy Chort (Black Devil) because of the black tulip design on his aircraft. Late during the war, Soviet pilots tended to retreat if they saw his aircraft, resulting in his aircraft being given to novice pilots. The reluctance of the Soviet airmen to fight caused Hartmann's kill rate to drop.
In 2003, female A-10 Thunderbolt pilot Kim Campbell was heavily lit by anti-aircraft munitions while flying over Baghdad. The plane lost all hydraulics, rolled left and pointed towards the ground, but after reverting to manual mode, she regained control, flew for an hour and landed without brakes.
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48Jack G. Hanson
During the Korean War in 1951 the American F Company came under attack from a vast Korean force, so everyone retreated leaving behind just a machine gunner named Jack G. Hanson to cover their retreat. Hours later when Americans retook the position, they found Hanson’s body in front of his machine gun nest with all his ammo expended. In his right hand was an empty pistol and in his left was a machete covered in blood. In front of him lay approximately 22 dead enemy soldiers, riddled with bullets and stab holes.
Frenchwoman Violette Morris won over 20 French national athletic titles (from boxing to shotput), earned over 50 medals in national and international competitions, took the field in over 200 professional soccer matches, placed first in almost two dozen auto and motorcycle long-distance endurance races. She even underwent a voluntary mastectomy in order to better fit inside her race cars. She was barred for life from French sports when she joined the Gestapo. She terrorized the French Resistance. She became such a headache for allies that British Commandos and French Resistance organized a special mission to take her out of the picture by ambushing her and firing a dozen machine guns at her sports car.
In 2014, a woman in Northern India, who was armed with only basic farm tools managed to fight off and kill a leopard that pounced on her when she was carrying water. Kamla Devi, 56, said she fought with the animal for more than half an hour using a sickle.