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8 incredible real-life castaway stories

By: Bryan Nelson on March 20, 2014, 4:47 p.m.
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Alexander Selkirk

The remarkable survival tale of Alexander Selkirk is the most likely source of inspiration for Daniel Defoe's fictional "Robinson Crusoe," making it one of history's most legendary castaway stories. Interestingly, Selkirk is a rare example of a person who willingly become a castaway. He chose to remain on Juan Fernández Island, just off Chile, after expressing doubts about the seaworthiness of the ship that brought him there. Before his rescue, he spent more than four years alone on the island, where he learned to live off the land.

Though he had great bouts of loneliness and remorse while stranded, Selkirk made the correct decision. The ship he chose to abandon, Cinque Ports, sunk off the coast of Colombia not long after it left the island.