Top 5 survival stories of 2023 – Magazine Creations

Harrowing stories of survival and daring rescues made headlines throughout 2023, from people trapped in caves deep underground to sailors lost at sea.

These are five of the top survival stories pitting man against nature from the past year.

‘Life or Death’

An Australian man trying to paddle solo in the Pacific Ocean was rescued in October by a cruise ship after his boat capsized, leaving him naked and adrift at sea in a “life or death” situation, according to his rescuers.


Tom Robinson was seen from the air sitting naked on his overturned boat in the Pacific Ocean, about 60 miles off the Vanuatu archipelago, officials said. (New Caledonia Maritime Rescue Coordination Center)

Tom Robinson from Brisbane had set out on a journey to become the youngest person ever to row across the Pacific Ocean when he encountered bad weather and rough seas on October 5, according to the New Caledonia Coordination Center for Maritime Rescue (COSS) and P&O Cruises. Australia.

Robinson activated his distress beacon more than 60 miles west of Malakula Island in Vanuatu, an archipelago of about 80 islands located east of Australia near New Caledonia, but COSS was unable to make contact with the paddler.

The shipping agency called in the Pacific Explorer, a P&O Cruises Australia cruise ship sailing in the area with 2,000 guests on a nine-day round trip from Auckland, New Zealand, to help search for the vessel in distress.

The cruise ship maneuvered through rough weather and found Robinson sitting naked on top of the overturned vessel the next morning. The crew immediately carried him to safety on the ship on Friday morning.

Tom Robinson and crew

Robinson thanked the cruise ship crew for helping him. (P&O Cruises Australia)

Robinson suffered sunburn and dehydration during the ordeal, though officials said he was otherwise in good health. He was given medical treatment on the cruise ship along with fresh clothes and a hot meal.

‘Needle in a haystack’

Another Australian sailor, accompanied only by his dog, was rescued in July after three months in the Pacific Ocean, surviving on his wrecked boat by eating raw fish and drinking rainwater.

Tim Saddock

Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, and his puppy, Bella, were found alive on his catamaran, Aloha Toa, in the Pacific, about 1,200 miles from land, after being spotted by the crew of a Mexican tuna from the Grupomar fleet. (Grupomar/Atun Tuny via AP)

Timothy Lyndsay Shaddock, 54, and his puppy, Bella, were found alive on his catamaran, Aloha Toa, in the Pacific, about 1,200 miles from land, after being spotted by the crew of a Mexican tuna from the Grupomar fleet.

Tim Shaddock sits with his dog Bella

Timothy Shaddock and his dog, Bella, were aboard his disabled catamaran, Aloha Toa, about 1,200 miles from land when they were rescued. (Grupomar/Atun Tuny via AP)

“I’ve had a very rough ordeal at sea and I need rest and good food because I’ve been alone at sea for a long time,” Shaddock said in a video broadcast by Australia’s 9News television. Despite looking thin and bearded, Shaddock said he was “in good health”.

Shaddock described how he and his dog survived on raw fish and rainwater after a storm damaged his boat and wiped out his electronics, cutting off all communications.


Bella is introduced after she and Shaddock were rescued from a Mexican tuna boat after being missing for three months. (Grupomar/Atun Tuny via AP)

Professor Mike Tipton, an ocean survival expert at the University of Portsmouth in England, told the agency that both luck and skill contributed to the survival of the man and his dog, likening the rescue to finding a “needle in a haystack grass”.


A US Coast Guard crew rescued a man stranded on an island in the Bahamas for three days after his sailboat broke down in August.

SOS written in the sand on the beach

The castaway carved “SOS” in the sand on the beach. (US Coast Guard)

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark rescued the man on Cay Sal, an island located between Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas, the Coast Guard said. Rescuers located the man after he shot flares into the sky from the boat.


The castaway had set up his own makeshift camp on the island and the Coast Guard crew dropped him food, water and a radio so he could contact authorities.

makeshift camp on the island

The stranded man set up a makeshift camp where he waited for three days until he could register the rescuers. (US Coast Guard)

“We are proud to have saved this man’s life. This case serves as a perfect example of why you need to have the proper safety equipment on your boat,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Dev Craig, Coast Guard patrol officer in Key West. “Without seeing the flare, the case may not have had a successful outcome.”

“I’m not going to live”

American explorer Mark Dickey, 40, was rescued from Morca Cave in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey in September after falling ill more than 3,000 feet below its entrance.

Dickey became ill on September 2 and began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding during his expedition, according to the European Cave Rescue Association.

The American was initially treated inside the cave by a Hungarian doctor who entered the cave on September 3. Doctors and paramedics then took turns tending to him.

Before rescuers could begin the journey to bring Dickie back to the surface, they first had to widen some of the cave’s narrow passages, install ropes to pull him up vertical shafts on a stretcher, and set up temporary camps along the way.

Dickey returned to the surface alive on September 11.

“It’s amazing to be above ground again,” Dickey told reporters. “My conscience started to get harder to hold onto and I got to the point where I thought, ‘I’m not going to live.’

41 workers were rescued after 17 days trapped in a tunnel

Rescuers in India pulled all 41 trapped tunnel workers to safety in November, ending a harrowing 17-day ordeal stuck under piles of mountain rock and rubble.

Rescue workers lined up outside a tunnel in India where men have been trapped

National Disaster Response Force personnel along with other rescue personnel gather near the face of the under-construction Silkyara tunnel that has collapsed in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state, India on November 28, 2023. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images)

Video posted online shows the joyous scenes as the exhausted workers tasted freedom for the first time in more than two weeks.

The workers – who were trapped under a collapsed road tunnel in India’s Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand after part of it collapsed during a November 12 landslide – were pulled out by a 3-foot-wide passage of welded pipes inserted through the rubble.

rescued Indian workers smiling

Some of the trapped Indian laborers emerge from the rubble after being trapped for 17 days. (Government of India via X)


The rescue brought a dramatic end to an operation riddled with setbacks and delays, which included the breakdown of heavy machinery used to drill to reach the trapped workers.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Timothy HJ Nerozzi and Michael Dorgan contributed to this report.


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