Survival Stories

In times of struggle and strife, humanity always finds a way. When the the clock runs low and the chips are down, these unbelieavable stories of survival will remind you of the strength of the human spirit.

Add Filter

    Everyday Heroes: Fearless on the Front Lawn

    A woman defends her turf—and saves a boy’s life.


    Aboard the Costa Concordia: One Family’s Nightmare

    Our family vacation aboard the Costa Concordia went terribly wrong. Here’s what it felt like to almost go down with...


    Everyday Heroes: The Man Who Ran Toward Fire

    A stranger saves an elderly woman and her dog from raging flames.


    The Sailor and the Whale: Survival at Sea

    A 40-ton gray whale lunges onto the deck, and Max Young seems sunk. What follows is the fight of his...


    Survival Stories: Free Fall Above Death Canyon

    Lauren McLean was a seasoned climber. No one expected her to end up broken on a ledge.


    Man Risks Life to Save Boys Floating Out to Sea

    "They were floating out to sea": How an everyday hero rescued two boys in dire circumstances.


    Reader's Digest Logo

    Barefoot Teen Braves Fire, Saves Neighbors

    “I’d never seen smoke like that,” he says. “My glasses immediately turned black from the ash.”


    Reader's Digest Logo

    Angel in an Apron: Baker Saves Couple from Plane Crash

    Read how a couple survives a fiery plane crash thanks to a baker and his buddy in this gripping story.

    Survival Story: The Little Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Help

    Eight-year-old Robert was nonverbal with an autism spectrum disorder, so when he vanished in a Virginia state park and prompted...


    The Tot and the Twister: A Real-Life Tornado Drama

    When a tornado struck near their hometown of Forney, Texas, the Enochs almost lost it all: Here's the amazing story...


    Miracle Rescue from an Icy River Plunge

    On a frigid winter day, a group of strangers band together to save three children.


    Survival Stories: Hot, Thirsty, and Lost in Death Valley

    Three women took a drive to Death Valley for a day of exploring. Three days and 300 miles later, they...


    Reader's Digest Logo

    25 Years Later: “Sole Survivor” Film Examines Emotions, Struggle

    Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of one of the worst disasters in U.S. aviation history: On August 16, 1987, Northwest


    Reader's Digest Logo

    In the Jaws of a Polar Bear

    As two Arctic kayakers were sound asleep, the polar bear that had picked up their scent began lumbering toward the...


    Miracle Boy Survivor of the Haiti Earthquake

    An estimated 100,000 children were left orphaned by the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but Kiki, luckily, is not one...


    Bear Attack: The Story of Seven Boys and One Grizzly

    Seven high school students were near the end of their month-long survival course in the Alaskan wilderness, but the real...

    Reader's Digest Logo

    You Only Live Twice

    On a cold Minnesota morning, Howard Snitzer collapsed on a sidewalk. Ninety-six minutes later, he still didn't have a heartbeat....


    Mayday! One Man’s Story of Surviving a Plane Crash

    Could you survive a plane crash for 18 hours treading water without a life vest? Michael Trapp did. Here's how....


    Reader's Digest Logo

    Shelli Eldredge’s Miraculous Recovery

    Shelli and husband Stephen were in Hawaii with their family when tragedy struck. Here, a story of recovery built on...


    Reader's Digest Logo

    The Boy Who Defied Death

    Doug Knutzen got the call at his auto shop: Emergency at the beach. Twelve-year-old Dale Ostrander of Spanaway, Washington, had


    Reader's Digest Logo

    Swept Away: A Miracle at Sea

    60-year-old Hiromitsu Shinkawa and his wife fled the tsunami they feared was following the devastating earthquake in Japan. Returning to...

    Reader's Digest Logo

    Averie the Snow Angel

    Averie Carrion, just four years old, braved a cold, snowy night to rescue her family. Did she have a guardian...


    Reader's Digest Logo

    It Happened to Alexa: Helping the Families of Rape Survivors

    Our Heroes: Alexa, Stacey, and Tom Branchini Where they live: Lewiston, New York How they help: It Happened to Alexa


    Father Kills Bear to Save Son

    Just a few more steps, a few … more … steps. Crouched in a thick stand of pines above the


    Reader's Digest Logo

    11-year-old Survivor of Floodwaters Saves Her Family

    Like most Oregonians, Stephanie McRae was used to driving in foul weather. Although rain still pelted the windshield of her


    Reader's Digest Logo

    World Trade Center Attack Survivor Lauren Manning: A Long Road Back to Health

    September 2006, and Lauren Manning looks terrific. Striding across the lobby of a Manhattan high-rise, she exudes the confidence she


    Reader's Digest Logo

    Shark! How One Surfer Survived an Attack

    Silver fog blanketed California’s Monterey Bay on a late August morning last year. For Todd Endris, it was a perfect