What does it feel like to be the only person to survive a plane crash, a boat wreck or an ambush?
September 4, 2010 6:15 AM   Subscribe

The Only Ones: Escaping Near Death : Sole Survivors from the fascinating first-person experience column in the Guardian.

It's worth noting that there are more first-person survival stories to the right of the main text. If you like this sort of stuff, We Die Alone and Touching the Void are two classics.
posted by lalochezia (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Often 'survivor guilt' is an imposed perception as mentioned in an interview from 1992 Libya crash survivor... "I faced death and it was not horrible."

posted by nickrussell at 6:29 AM on September 4, 2010

I was reading about 4 year old Stacey Percy only yesterday. Her whole family got wiped out [along with ten others] in a spree killing, while she received "severe wounds."

She's almost 24 now. I Googled her name but couldn't find any more recent news about her.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:38 AM on September 4, 2010

It is odd to see these words recast for a British readership: I find it jarring to read a US Air Force veteran saying, "When I got to hospital," and, "I was in hospital for months."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:57 AM on September 4, 2010

Now that these people have been exposed they should keep a watchful eye out for Elijah Price. That guy could be anywhere.
posted by Johnny Hazard at 7:34 AM on September 4, 2010

Wrong thread?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:41 AM on September 4, 2010

Elijah Price was the villain of the movie Unbreakable, which is tangentially about the sole survivor of a train crash.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:13 AM on September 4, 2010

This was great read, thanks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:13 AM on September 4, 2010

The waves were huge; three times as tall as my dad.

That got to me.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:27 AM on September 4, 2010

Touching the Void

In addition to the book, I highly recommend the documentary. Stunning story!
posted by ericb at 8:55 AM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I survived a horrific car accident earlier this year, and suffered major survivor guilt afterward. Of the two other people in the car with me, one died instantly, and the other is still recovering from injuries that almost took her life.
What I found most difficult to comprehend was why I was "chosen" to not only survive, but to actually walk away. I constantly questioned what made me more "worthy" than my colleagues of survival or freedom from suffering. My guilt made it more difficult for me to accept that I also suffered trauma and needed to recover, even if my physical injuries were minor.
My friends and loved ones always talk about how lucky I am, and I certainly feel grateful for my life and health. But I will always be haunted/driven by my need to understand and appreciate why I was so fortunate, and to redeem my survival somehow.
This was a great article to read. Thank you.
posted by swingbraid at 4:56 PM on September 4, 2010

Like the show I Shouldn't Be Alive, minus the cheesy reenactments.
posted by anotherkate at 8:53 PM on September 4, 2010

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