Still, sharks were only a part of their problem. The trio was constantly on the brink of starvation. They got food however they could -- an unwary albatross that perched on the raft was immediately snatched and killed. Zamperini got into the habit of fashioning hooks out of leftover scraps and tying them in his hands for some Wolverine-style fishing. They even managed to beat a few sharks to death and eat their livers, because at that point they really hated sharks.
After 27 days at sea, they finally saw an aircraft. Yeah! Oh, wait, it was a Japanese bomber.
The plane attacked them six times, firing and even dropping a freaking depth charge at them. Zamperini tried to create another target by jumping out of the raft, which proved to be a bad move, as the ocean was still full of the sharks he had been maiming for weeks. After some underwater shark fighting and a raft repair session, the trio was left exhausted. Still, they weren't without morale: When McNamara died on Day 33, the remaining two refused to resort to cannibalism and gave him an improvised funeral at sea, to the eternal joy of the beaten and battered sharks.
On Day 47, the two survivors finally found land. Too bad for them that said land happened to contain a Japanese POW camp. Having survived aquatic predators, crashes, exposure, gunfire and the death of a comrade, Zamperini's reward was two and a half years of near starvation and daily beatings at the hands of the Japanese. However, he not only persevered, but survived, and even forgave his abusers.
Sally Peterson / Wall Street Journal
"I forgive you ... for punching like a prepubescent cheerleader with muscular dystrophy."
Having depleted his stash of shitty karma, Louis Zamperini went on to live a pretty good life. He is 95 at the time of writing this article, and he has more buildings named after him than Donald Trump. Considering that this is a man who once spent a month and a half beating Jaws into submission, we feel that this is only fair.
Read Jacopo's other new article at the Huffington Post. Dustin Koski has awesome articles like this one at Toptenz!
For more tales that ought to put hair on your chest, check out 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator and The 5 Most Epic One Man Rampages In the History Of War.
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