When you read about the heroism of a few brave people, it can almost inspire you to sign up for rope rescue classes. However, high-risk rescue isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes strength, stamina and a cool head under pressure. The following are some of history’s most extraordinary rescue efforts.
The Miracle of the Andes
On Friday, October 13, 1972, a rugby team, along with some of their family members, were involved in a plane crash at the border of Argentina and Chile in the Andes Mountains. Of the 45 on board, there were eventually only 16 survivors. What makes this story truly horrific is that they would have to resort to cannibalism to survive long enough for 2 of the remaining survivors to hike across the mountains with no gear to find help. After 72 days, they were finally rescued on December 23, 1972.
In WWII, in the Isle of Shoals, the submarine USS Squalus lost 26 men instantly when a valve failed, causing it to fill with water. The remaining crew bravely closed off the flooded compartments as the submarine came to rest on the ocean floor, 10 feet below crush depth. Some innovative and fearless Navy divers used cutting edge diving theory to avoid certain death. They managed to bring the remaining 33 survivors to safety, earning four of the divers the Medal of Honor.
One of the most celebrated NASA rescues ever was memorialized for modern audiences in the hit movie by the same name as the mission: Apollo 13. It took an enormous effort by some of the smartest and most dedicated engineers and astronauts to save the lives of Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert when their spaceship sustained damage in an explosion 200,000 miles above the earth. Against all odds, they managed to survive, and the world held their breath as they watched the television for them to emerge from their capsule in the ocean on that infamous day, April 17, 1970.