20 Of The Most Life-Threatening Situations – And The Tactics You Need To Make It Out Of Them Alive

For some of us, there might come a time in our lives when we’re put in serious danger. On those occasions, our decision making will dictate whether we can swerve a potential tragedy. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 20 extreme situations – and how to survive them.

20. Lost At Sea

The ocean can be a terrifying place at the best of times. And those fears will only be amplified should you find yourself stranded there. Given how vast the open sea is, you might believe that there’s no way to survive before someone finds you. However, if you utilize the following tactics, you could escape with your life.

Even though it might seem improbable, there are ways to stay hydrated and fed on the ocean. Regarding the former, the Bright Side website suggests that a handmade “distillation machine” comprised of two containers and a plastic bag will safely quench your thirst. As for food, you could collect fish or seaweed with makeshift nets and fishing rods. Of course, the latter will be a bit salty.

19. Stranded In Snow

From a distance, snowy landscapes look absolutely beautiful. But we shouldn’t forget the dangers lurking there either. Charles Horton could certainly attest to that, as he suffered a broken shin while out on the slopes in Colorado. And to make matters even worse, he was completely alone when it happened, recounting his experience on the Outside Online website.

Importantly, though, Horton managed to survive his ordeal by following some steps. To begin with, he utilized extracts from an arnica plant to stop himself going into shock. After that, he wrapped his body up with spare items of clothing and started to move through the snow. The injured skier also sheltered in tree wells come nightfall, managing to survive for eight days before he was found.


18. Trapped Under The Rapids

While white water rafting can be a lot of fun, it’s laced with hazards that could potentially kill you. And David Hughes knows that all too well, as he took on the “Suicide” rapids in Alabama back in 1996. During that trip, his kayak got stuck in a vertical position at the bottom of a waterfall, leaving him gasping for air.

Hughes recalled what happened next to Outside Online. He said, “I fought and got partway out of the cockpit, but my legs remained pinned. So I decided to break them. I clasped my hands together and reached out into the falls, hoping the force would snap my legs and rip me from the boat. Instead, my body became a lever, and it pried the boat loose.”


17. Hunted By A Crocodile

Alongside sharks, crocodiles are arguably some of the scariest predators that you’ll find in the water. However, unlike the former, these hulking creatures can also venture onto land, eyeing possible prey. Unsurprisingly, humans will fall into that category if they get too close, but here’s something to consider in those situations.

You see, crocodiles are deceptively quick, and they can outpace you in a foot race. On that note, you should never flee from them in a single direction, as the animal will most likely catch you. Instead, Bright Side suggests that your best chance of getting away is by moving in a “zigzag” pattern.


16. Lost In The Amazon Jungle

In South America, you’d be hard-pressed to name a more iconic area than the Amazon rainforest. For this jungle stretches through eight different countries, covering 1.4 billion acres. When looking at that figure, you might think that a person wouldn’t survive if they got lost there, but Guilhem Nayral lived to tell his tale.

While talking to Outside Online, Nayral revealed that he and an acquaintance named Loïc Pillois were stranded in the Amazon for over 50 days. Prior to their rescue, they employed an interesting tactic to survive. He said, “If we thought a plant was edible, one of us would try it. If he was still okay the next day, we knew we could eat it. We [also] ate beetles.”


15. Trapped Under Debris

If you suffer with claustrophobia, the thought of getting stuck in a cave-in or a collapsed building will probably be your worst nightmare. After all, the fallen debris will create a lot of tight spaces. However, there are methods that you can utilize to ensure your survival before someone reaches your position.

According to Bright Side, you need to preserve the oxygen in the area. The best way to do that is by controlling your breathing, and resisting the urge to cry out. Fire will also take a chunk out of the air, so you shouldn’t light any matches. Meanwhile, the website claims that you can stave off suffocation from dust if you bundle a shirt over your head too.


14. Caught In A Rip Current

On a warm day at the beach, there’s no better way to cool off than by taking a dip in the sea. But with that being said, we have to be incredibly mindful of the conditions when we get in the water. Rip currents are particularly hazardous, as they can spring up anywhere.

If you’re stuck in a rip current, you shouldn’t swim against its pull. You’ll never be able to escape it that way, and you could eventually drown. Instead, you need to paddle in a parallel direction. As Bright Side noted, the dangerous tides are quite narrow, so that’s your best bet to free yourself.


13. A Venomous Snake Bite

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if certain snakes are poisonous or not, but their bite will remove all doubt. When a venomous snake leaves its mark, the blood from the wound has a very distinctive appearance. Indeed, it can range from a darker color to a bluish shade.

Under normal circumstances, people aren’t advised to suck out the poison themselves, as it could get into their bloodstream through their mouths. If they have no other option, though, they need to get to the wound after a couple of seconds. Furthermore, Bright Side says that bites shouldn’t be covered up, because doing so prevents some of the toxins coming out during the bleeding.


12. Earthquakes

Natural disasters can be very difficult to prepare for, as you don’t always know when they’re going to happen. In the case of earthquakes, the United States Department of Homeland Security devised a “public service campaign” to inform people of what to do if the unthinkable happens. The website in question is simply known as Ready.

According to the website, you need to get down on the floor and protect your neck and head if you’re inside. Meanwhile, drivers are told to stop their vehicles immediately, before putting the handbrake on. And for anyone else who finds themself outside, Ready advises them to stay back from large structures.


11. A Mountain Lion Attack

While big cats are beautiful creatures, most of us wouldn’t welcome the idea of facing one out in the open. Unfortunately for Nell Hamm and her partner Jim, though, they had very little choice in the matter. The couple were thrust into a terrifying stand off with a mountain lion in California.

Hamm’s husband was subsequently attacked, with the mountain lion clasping onto his skull. She then hit the animal with a piece of wood, recalling what happened next to Outside Online. The woman said, “She let go and turned on me. I waved the branch above my head and screamed, and she turned and walked off the trail, disappearing into the ferns.” Thankfully, Jim recovered from his injuries.


10. Lost In The Desert

Due to the unforgiving heat and lack of shade, you wouldn’t want to get lost in a desert. However, if you ever found yourself in that position, it’s not an instant death sentence. In fact, with some careful planning, you might be able to make it back in one piece.

Once the sun goes down in the desert, the temperature adjusts to a much more comfortable level. At that point, you could start to traverse the sand dunes without worrying about heat stroke. Meanwhile, Bright Side claims that you can access water via “underground sources” too, so dehydration shouldn’t be a problem.


9. A Deep Puncture Wound

When we suffer cuts or scrapes, most of us will immediately turn to the nearest tap so we can clean it. However, the approach to treating puncture wounds is very different. If an item has made a deep enough incision into our skin, we need to follow certain instructions to ensure things don’t get worse.

The most important piece of advice is actually quite simple, even though it might test the strength of our stomachs. Indeed, we shouldn’t pull out the item that’s caused the puncture. Bright Side notes that it stops the injury from hemorrhaging blood, which could be extremely helpful if it’s nicked a vein.


8. Trapped Under Ice

Whether it’s on the sidewalk or the main road, ice is a danger that’s very hard to avoid during the winter months. In addition to that, icy rivers are hazardous too, as the frosty sheets can buckle under a person’s weight. Should you find yourself in that position, there is a tactic you can employ to swerve disaster.

According to the Insider website, you can’t afford to panic under the ice, as that will have a detrimental effect on your oxygen levels. Instead, you need to focus on the spot where you first broke through. Once you’ve found it, you then have to carefully drag your body up, before lying down on the sheet. That should stop it from cracking open a second time.


7. Tornadoes

Much like earthquakes, we need to follow a specific set of instructions when a tornado comes along. You see, this terrifying weather condition can be incredibly destructive, tearing through buildings at will. To avoid disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency advises us to pick out a “safe location” before the tornado hits.

The organization suggests that the best spots are those on the ground floor of a house, away from the windows. Smaller spaces are said to be ideal as well. But not everyone will have the luxury of being inside when the time comes. Should that happen to you, you must avoid hiding under structures like bridges and aim for a “flat” shelter.


6. Plunging Down A Waterfall

From a distance, attractions like the Niagara Falls are a majestic sight. That particular area continues to attract tourists throughout the year, as they flock to catch a glimpse of the three waterfalls. But what would happen if you somehow plunged down one of them? Could you survive something like that?

In the opinion of Steven Labov, you might be able to escape with your life if you follow a certain method. Labov says that you need to ensure that your feet are in front of you at the start of the plunge. After that, the United States Search and Rescue Task Force worker advises you to tense your muscles and ball up ahead of the landing.


5. Stuck In Quicksand

This is an interesting one. While watching certain movies and television shows, you’d be forgiven for thinking that quicksand was a slow death sentence, dragging people down to their dooms. According to the Insider website, though, you probably wouldn’t drown if you got stuck in a patch in real life.

Yet that isn’t to say that quicksand can’t be problematic. For instance, if a friend attempted to yank you free from its clutches, that wouldn’t really help your cause. You’d be better off by moving your legs beneath the surface first. That should create a bit of space for you to tilt at an angle, and then utilize a “backstroke” to escape.


4. Caught In An Avalanche

Unsurprisingly, mountain climbing isn’t the easiest of pastimes to indulge in, pushing you to your physical limits. But alongside those exertions, you need to keep watch over the conditions on the peak as well. If it gets too choppy, an avalanche could very well erupt and leave you in a perilous position.

For Jonathan Copp, though, he managed to survive several avalanches over a four-day period with a group of climbers in the Himalayas. As he noted to Outside Online, their decision to set up camp within a “crevasse” probably saved their lives. The area shielded them from the worst of it, before Copp and company navigated a way to safety.


3. A Killer Bee Attack

It could be argued that the killer bee is still one of the most intimidating insects in the world today. These bugs began to emerge in the United States back in the mid-1980s, before a significant number of them made Texas their home the following decade. Now, we all have to be wary of the dangers they pose.

According to the American Survival Guide magazine, a hive of killer bees can be irritated by booming sounds, noticeable scents and dark items of clothing. If that sparks an attack, you must keep your cool at first, as shouting will only make things worse. From there, the publication suggests that you should shield your face and sprint a length of around 1,000 feet.


2. Caught In A Flood

While we spoke about the dangers of tornadoes earlier, flooding actually poses a bigger threat. The WXII-TV website reported that floods cause an average of 89 fatalities every 12 months. Keeping that in mind, the Ready webpage offered some advice on what to do when the water levels start to rise.

The website notes that people shouldn’t attempt to navigate the floods, as they can be taken off their feet by only six inches of water. Unless citizens are told to leave their current location, they must stay put. But if the levels continue to go up, Ready advises you to head to an elevated area in your home.


1. A Rabid Animal Bite

While a normal animal bite can be incredibly painful, you should be able to treat the damage yourself. Indeed, soaking the affected area in warm, soapy water usually does the trick, wiping out any harmful bacteria. But if the creature was “rabid,” that simple method won’t be enough to prevent a potential tragedy.

You see, rabid animal bites continue to bleed after the attack, swelling up as time goes on. Then, you’ll likely become very sick. According to Bright Side, a bout of rabies could kill you in a week if you don’t do anything about it. So should you find yourself in that situation, you must travel to a medical facility as soon as possible to be vaccinated.