There are some people who just won’t die. They survive impossible odds, things fall just right or they’re just lucky. But these five went a step farther, and refused the reaper even when faced with plane crashes, bears, and bullets to the head.
Hugh Glass was a 1800’s American frontiersmen famous for exploring the watershed of the upper Missouri river. What elevated him to badass was an incident in 1823 when he survived a brutal bear attack.
While scouting along scouting for food along the river, Hugh ran afoul of an enraged grizzly bear mother. The grizzly attacked in an effort to defend her cubs from the interloper, mauling Hugh badly. Unable to get his rifle out, Hugh barely managed to escape her death grip before stabbing the bear repeatedly. He left with a heavily scarred chest, arm, back, and face.
The wounds were so gruesome that his fellow travelers put a bear hide over him as a funeral shroud and left him for dead, so they could get out of the increasingly hostile area. A mortal man’s story would have ended there, but Hugh Glass lived on. Setting his own leg and wrapping his wounds in the bear hide, Hugh began to crawl along the river to safety.
In order to stave off infection,Hugh would lie on dead logs and allow maggots to eat his dead flesh. His main food source during the six week trek? Rattle snakes. If this sounds familiar, it has recently been made into the Oscar winning film, Revenant.
4. Juliane Koepcke
A German zoologist, Juliane is more famous as a plane crash survivor instead of a scientist. At the age of seventeen, when the 70’s were still young, Juliane and her mother’s plane was struck by lightning. The plane fell a total of two miles from the sky, killing everyone on board. Except Juliane.
Juliane didn’t emerge unscathed however. Her injuries included a concussion, a broken collar bone, a gash to her right arm, and a her right eye was swollen shut. She survived only on the sweets she found searching in vain for other survivors.
Juliane tried to find her way back to civilization by following the small stream nearby. After nine sleep deprived days, she found boats belonging to lumbermen, who tended to her wounds and eventually got her to safety.
3. Simo Hayha
A Finnish farmer and hunter, Simo Hayha joined the militia at the age of twenty. This seemingly average young man would go down in history as one of the most badass soldiers the world has ever seen.
Nicknamed “White Death”, Hayha broke all known sharpshooting records. During a one hundred day period, Hayha killed five hundred Soviet troops. He operated in white camouflage during the day, when temperatures were somewhere between negative forty and negative twenty degrees Celsius.
The Soviets put his death as a top priority. Counter-snipers and artillery strikes were sent in to eliminate the White Death. But they all failed, until in March, 1940. An explosive bullet hit him in the lower left jaw, removing half of his face. Remarkably, Hayha did not die. He pulled through, and lived to see the end of the war.
2. Shavarsh Karapetyan
Seven time Soviet Armenia World Fen Swimmer, Shavarsh Karapetyan’s underwater sports fame is less well known as the reason he abandoned it all. It all happened beside a lake in 1976.
While training with his brother, Karapetyan witnessed a trolley bus crash with ninety two passengers inside. The bus went off a dam ledge and into a ten kilometer deep reservoir. Karapetyan ran into action immediately.
With little visibility and even less time, Karapetyan broke into the sinking bus and single-handedly saved over twenty people. Unfortunately, the cold water and the injuries he sustained in the effort sent him into a forty five day comma. He awoke a hero, but never recovered completely. Ten years later, Karaptyan did an encore act of heroism, saving ten people from burning building.
1. Roy Benavidez
A former member of the United States Army Special Forces, Benavidez was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam, and has a reputation for surviving the impossible. He once went to save his comrades who were badly out numbered. The rescue helicopter couldn’t land due to the intense small arms fire. So what did Benavidez do? He jumped up to thirty feet from the chopper into the storm of small arms fire. He then ran seventy five feet to his comrades, taking a bullet in the leg,face, and head on the way.
Once he got there, he immediately started rescuing his squad mates. For his actions he received a bullet in the gut and a grenade in the back. Shortly after he learned that the helicopter he rode in on had crashed. In response, Benavidez not only rescued the pilot, but somehow still mobile, called in another rescue and several air strikes. He was shot several more times in the thigh before the back up chopper arrived. As he made his way to the back up rescue, he was beaten and stabbed by an enemy combatant, who he then killed in hand to hand combat.
When the returned to base, Roy Benavidez was pronounced dead and put in a body bag. Exhausted from the days heroics, Benavidez only had the strength to spit in order to signal that he was somehow still alive.