MNN Galleries

8 incredible real-life castaway stories

By: Bryan Nelson on March 20, 2014, 4:47 p.m.
6 of 10

Ernest Shackleton

One of the most remarkable survival stories of all time is that of Ernest Shackleton and his crew. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton and his crew became stranded on Antarctica's remote Elephant Island after his ship was crushed by frozen sea ice. In a desperate attempt to seek rescue, Shackleton and five others set out in a 22-foot lifeboat to travel an impossible 800 miles to the nearest inhabited island: South Georgia. Despite having to traverse some of the world's worst seas, the seafarers completed their journey in just 17 days.

After hailing rescue, Shackleton returned to Elephant Island to save his remaining crew, all of whom survived until his arrival.