Hiking is a famous sport that it is both beneficial for the body and the mind. Every year, millions around the world hike up the mountains to get in touch with nature and their inner self. At the same time, thousands get lost in the wild. While most of them have their phones or GPS trackers that allow rescuers find them, there are a few who love to disconnect themselves from all electronics and get lost in the wilderness. These people not only make it hard on themselves to get back towards civilization, but also hard for rescuers to find them.
Unfortunately, some are never seen or heard from again. However, there are a very few, who put their knowledge to the test to ensure their survival at all costs. Here, we are listing stories of 10 such people, who got lost in the wild but managed to make it back to civilization or were eventually found by rescuers.
1. Juliane Koepcke was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Peru after she fell more than 10,000 feet and trekked the jungle for 9 days to find help.
On Christmas Eve in 1971, 17-year-old Juliane Koepcke boarded LANSA Flight 508 with her mother from Lima, Peru to the eastern city of Pucallpa to visit her father, who was working in the Amazonian Rainforest. The flight was only meant to be an hour long and Juliane was seated in 19F. Everything was going according to plan but as the plane started ascending, the ride started to get a little bumpy due to turbulence. Flight 508 had in fact flown into the middle of a thunderstorm and a lightning bolt struck the engine, causing it to break into pieces.
The motor caused the side of the plane to split open and moments later, Juliane, who was already strapped in her seat, was free-falling more than 10,000 feet to the ground. After her seat landed on the ground, Juliane suffered a few fractures but survived. The next 9 days, she struggled to make her way through the wild and thick forest of Peru. On the 9th day, after finally reaching civilization, Juliane helped authorities find the wreckage. Of the 91 people aboard, Juliane Koepcke was the sole survivor. (source)
2. Robert Bogucki, in search of some time alone for himself, left out into the Australian wilderness. For 40 days, he drank muddy water and ate plants and flowers to survive.
On July 11, 1999, Bogucki, then 33, carried about a week’s worth of food, including chocolate bars, biscuits and canned tuna, plus camping gear and about 26 liters of water, and set out on a journey into the Australian outback. Bogucki had only one goal in his mind, to be left alone and find inner peace. The only means of transportation he had was a bicycle, which he abandoned after two days. Along with his bike, he abandoned most of his equipment, including water, and started walking.
Two weeks later, a group of hikers came across his bike and gear and alerted authorities. Australian authorities immediately dispatched helicopters and volunteers and searched hundred of miles for Bogucki, but there was no sign of him. The Alaska native was nowhere to be seen, so after 12 days of searching the team was called off. His parents and friends though, were determined to find him. A Vietnam veteran named Garrison St. Clair joined the search and the family’s efforts were quickly noticed by news stations. On the 40th day, a new helicopter was taking footage of a river when the camera spotted Bogucki. He had survived the entire 40 days off of muddy water and plants. (source)
3. Madeline Connelly went for a short hike with her dog Mogi but went missing in the Montana wilderness. The two managed to survive for nearly a week without food or shelter in the freezing temperatures.
In 2017, Madeline Connelly decided to take a short hike in the wilderness of northwest Montana. The 23-year-old wasn’t planning to spend more than six hours in the wilderness, so she did not take any food or water along with her. However, she took her beloved companion, Mogi. A few hours into her hike, Madeline found herself lost in the wilderness. While searching for civilization, she got turned around; walking deeper into the wilderness. When Madeline failed to return any messages, her concerned parents alerted authorities, who set out on a rescue mission.
Although she has had some trekking experience, Madeline was in a heavily wooded, mountainous forest near Glacier National Park with steep, rugged terrain, a raging river with several tributaries running through it, along with bears and mountain lions among the wildlife. The temperatures were below freezing at night and she was literally in “the middle of nowhere”. Despite the odds being stacked against her, after seven days, Madeline and her companion were finally spotted by a rescue chopper who airlifted them to safety. (source)
4. Shannon Leah Fraser had an argument with her fiancé and decided to take a walk in the bush to calm herself down. She ended up getting lost for 17 days without food or water but managed to find her way back.
On September 21, 2014, following a disagreement with her fiancé, the Australian decided to take a stroll to calm herself. What was supposed to be a short walk ended up being a huge ordeal when Fraser got turned around and lost track of her path. The mother of three tried to retrace her steps but it only lead her further away. With no food or water in hand, Fraser had to rely on bugs and a small creek to replenish herself. On day 16, she had finally decided to give up when she reached an old Aboriginal burial ground.
According to Fraser, she heard a voice in her head that said, ‘Only you can do it’, which gave her the strength she needed to walk a few more miles. A few hours later, Fraser found ribbons, left by the search and rescue team, which she followed and managed to make her way back to civilization. In the 17 days that she went missing, Fraser lost 22 lbs and suffered severe sunburns. (source)
5. Aleksandr Kovalev disappeared into the wild Siberian taiga during the cold winter of 2017. He managed to survive the harsh Siberian winter and the black bears for 2 weeks before making his way back to civilization.
In 2017, Aleksandr Kovalev, 54, who was working on a gold mine as a truck driver, disappeared. Rescuers found his truck with a full tank, and inside they found his glasses. Apart from that, there was no signs of him and rescuers were unable to locate Aleksandr. The mystery deepened when Aleksandr emerged out from the wilderness and onto a highway, two weeks after his disappearance.
His fingers and toes had frostbite and Aleksandr had to be hospitalized. The ordeal left him shaken to a point that he does not remember anything related to the incident. To this day, his disappearance and emergence remains a mystery. Authorities are still unsure as to how Aleksandr managed to survive in such chilling temperatures in a forest filled with wild animals including black bears, wolves, and tigers. (source)
6. Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli backpacker traveling through South America — survived near drowning, venomous snakes, starvation and extreme pain for three weeks.
In 1981, after the completion of his service in the Israeli Navy, Yossi headed to South America, along with four of his travel buddies. However, a couple of weeks after their arrival, the group had disagreements and decided to split up. A few days later, Yossi became the sole traveler, who was walking through the dense Amazonian forests. He had no food, equipment or water, so he had to rely on berries, fruits, and eggs from bird nests. At night, he had to deal with termites and red ants but Yossi continued moving forward, hoping to get rescued.
Three weeks after he was first declared missing, and right when the search mission was about to give up, a rescue boat happened to land on the shore where Yossi had fallen unconscious. Yossi was finally rescued, but two of the other men from his group are believed to have perished in the jungle. The 2017 movie Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe tells his story. (source)
7. Edward Rosenthal, 64, survived for six days in the Joshua Tree National Park without food or water. He was ready to give up & was writing messages to his family when a rescue helicopter found him.
In 2010, 64-year-old Edward Rosenthal decided to take a stroll in the Joshua Tree desert in Southern California. Edward parked his car and started walking through the desert, but on his way back, he took one wrong turn that sent him farther away from his car and supplies. As hours turned into days, Edward decided that his best chance of survival was to stay put and wait for rescuers to find him. With no food and water, Edward survived by moving from one tree to another for shade. On day 6, he was disoriented and so exhausted that he believed that it was the end for him.
Edward began writing his wishes on a small piece of paper when a rescue chopper flew by and spotted him. According to rescuers, he was so malnourished and exhausted that he did not even have the strength to sit up and wave at the rescue chopper. Rescue crews airlifted him to a hospital where he completely recovered. (source)
8. Andrew Gaskell went on a quest to find himself and purposely stayed away from designated areas, causing him to be lost for two weeks.
On October 18, Andrew Gaskell from Australia set off on a solo hike up the 2,376 meter summit of Mt Mulu. During his hike, officials had warned him to stay within the designated route and within close proximity of the nearby communities. However, Gaskell wanted to explore and discover his inner spirit. His plan worked most of the way before he got lost and ran out of food and water. He then had to rely on ferns and small creeks for survival.
After two weeks, Gaskell was malnourished, dehydrated and losing his will to survive when rescuers spotted him. He was airlifted to the hospital where he apologized for his actions. In a blog post, Gaskell explained that this all could have been avoided if he had just followed the rules like the officials had informed him to. (source)
9. Liang Sheng Yueh and his girlfriend Liu Chen Chun were hiking in Nepal when they fell into a ravine. They were stuck for a total of 47 days in freezing temperatures and with limited food. Only Liang Sheng Yueh made it out successfully.
In 2017, 21-year-old Liang Sheng Yueh and his 19-year-old girlfriend Liu Chen Chun, Taiwanese trekkers, were trekking in Nepal when they encountered a severe snowstorm. The storm caused limited visibility and the couple wandered off course, until they fell into a ravine, close to the Narchet River. When the duo failed to show up at the designated reporting area, rescuers set out to search for them. For nearly 40 days, they survived off of the limited food and water that they had, but when they ran out of supplies, Liu Chen Chun didn’t make it.
Liang Sheng Yueh then ate the snow and some salt packets he had with him. Finally, on the 47th day, last day of the search, rescuers spotted vultures circling. Curious to see what the birds were waiting for, they flew closer, only to discover the couple. They were both airlifted to the hospital where Liang Sheng Yueh managed to make a full recovery. (source)
10. A Saskatchewan man who was lost in the woods for more than four days, chopped down some power lines so that workers would have to come and rescue him.
In 2010, a northern Saskatchewan was hiking when he wandered deep into the woods and couldn’t find his way back. The unidentified man had been stranded with limited food and water for more than four days, when he noticed some power lines. Although there are power lines running through the woods, it can span for hundreds of miles before reaching civilization. Thinking quickly, the man took out his axe and chopped down four power poles. His actions caused nearby communities to lose power and so, technicians scrambled to fix the issue.
When technicians arrived, they discovered the man waiting for them. He was finally rescued by the SaskPower crew and it took two days for the communities to receive electricity again. Although they are unhappy with his actions, they were glad he survived. (source)