The 5 Most Ungrateful People to Ever Have Been Rescued

If you need help, we suggest not killing everyone around you
The 5 Most Ungrateful People to Ever Have Been Rescued

When you save someone’s life, they’ll be forever in your debt. Either that or you become forever responsible for them — it really depends on which proverb you believe in. Regardless, we trust the two of you will embrace, and they will thank you.

Or maybe they’ll be like the following people, and they’ll stab you in the throat. 

When an American Ship Rescued British Castaways, the Brits Stole It and Stranded Their Rescuers

In 1812, a British ship was poking around the Falkland Islands, as British ships are wont to do. This ship, the Isabella, broke apart, and the 54 people aboard landed on the 20-square-mile Eagle Island. Their best hope for rescue was to send a few people to sea in hopes of reaching distant Rio de Janeiro, a mission that didn’t end up succeeding.

Two months later, an American ship approached Eagle Island, drawn to the sight of the sailors’ signal fires. The Nanina was in the area to hunt seals, and when it met the Brits, Captain Charles Barnard told the castaways some surprising news: The United States and Britain were now at war. Still, that wasn’t a reason to leave innocent people to die, and the Nanina would gladly transport the castaways back to civilization.

First, though, the Americans needed to resupply — to account for the extra mouths who’d soon be aboard. They took a boat to a nearby island that was sure to be rich with hogs. But when they returned, the Brits were gone, and so was the Nanina. It seems that this other crew had a very different idea about the rules of war and about abandoning the innocent. Bernard and his crew were eventually rescued by a crew of whalers who sailed close by — but not before they spent 18 months stranded on Eagle Island.


Damn. Even the crew over on Lost were only stuck there for three months.

Someone From the Donner Party Sued a Rescuer

If you want an inspiring tale about rescuing the Donner Party, you should go read about John Stark, who piled a bunch of children on his back and saved them all. If you want a gross tale about rescuing the Donner Party, we could instead tell you about Lewis Keseberg.

via Wiki Commons

Ol’ “Liver-Eating” Lewis

The first rescue party to reach Keseberg found him paralyzed in a pile of his own shit. They took care of him, and he found this humiliating. They weren’t quite able to bring him back with them, but a later party arrived, which included someone who’d previously been rescued from the Donner Party, William Eddy. Keseberg confessed that he’d eaten Eddy’s son. This put a bit of a damper on the reunion.

When the next party arrived, Keseberg had healed up enough to leave with them. They didn’t really enjoy rescuing him that much, though, because they were distressed by the sight of him positively surrounded by the corpses of friends he’d been chomping on. Back in civilization, these rescuers spread word about the horrors they’d seen. Keseberg became known as a monster, and he figured the correct course of action was to sue the person who’d spread these rumors: Ned Coffeemeyer, one of the men who’d rescued him.

A court found in Keseberg’s favor. Apparently, Coffeemeyer had been calling Keseberg a thief and a murderer, both of which might have been true, but neither was confirmed. The court didn’t rule very strongly in Keseberg’s favor, however. It awarded him one dollar. Whether or not he really killed anyone, the guy was a cannibal. He didn’t have much of a reputation to lose. 

One Lost Hiker Refused to Answer Their Rescuers’ Calls

In 2021, a hiker on Colorado’s Mount Elbert didn’t come back down as scheduled. The first step in a situation like this is for Search and Rescue to try phoning the missing person. These calls received no answer, raising the possibility that the hiker had collapsed — or worse. 

Panoramic view of Mount Elbert in June

Robertbody/Wiki Commons

Falling off a cliff is always possibility number one.

Search and Rescue teams now made their way up the mountain. They didn’t know exactly where the hiker (or the hiker’s corpse) was, so they were in for a long search.

The next day, the hiker showed up at their own home. They’d never been in any trouble, they said. They just hung out on the mountain longer than initially planned. Oh yeah, they admitted, their phone had rung a few times, but they’d chosen not to pick up. The calls had come from some random number instead of one of their contacts, and what kind of crazy person answers an unknown number?

A Man Killed the Guy Who Stopped Him From Hanging Himself

When one man stops another from taking his own life, the would-be suicide victim may be deeply grateful. Or, they might respond like John Pentyn. 

Pentyn was going to hang himself in an upper room of his house. His wife Clemencia spotted him but was unable to overpower him herself, so she ran out and fetched some neighbors. Three came to her aid, and two of them were also named John, because they didn’t have a lot of names in those days. 

The first one to make it to Pentyn’s room was John de Chiggewell. Pentyn didn’t like being interrupted, and he hit the other man with an iron bar from the window. After two weeks of suffering from the wound, de Chiggewell died. 

window bars

Katia Rolon

Window bars are supposed to be a safety feature.

A jury, however, didn’t find Pentyn guilty, as they were convinced that de Chiggewell was going to attack him, and the killing counted as self-defense. Oh, and did we mention that this happened in England in the year 1322? We’re lucky they didn’t also burn Clemencia as a witch. 

Actually, maybe they did — sources don’t say anything about them not burning her as a witch. 

A Lost Hunter Killed 15 People

When you’re lost, a signal fire may be your best shot at salvation. For example, a signal fire was how the crew of the Isabella were able to get off that island, through crimes. So, when California man Sergio Martinez got lost while hunting deer in 2003, he set a fire. He was thirsty, and he was afraid he might die out there in the mountains. He gathered a bunch of brush and set it on fire. A helicopter spotted the fire and rescued him, and he now told his rescuers that he’d set the fire by mistake, by shooting his gun.

This was because he was beginning to suspect that lighting a fire hadn’t been the best idea (especially given that a helicopter had already been combing the area from above and may have spotted him either way). With conditions dry, and with the Santa Ana winds blowing through, the fire quickly spread. It grew into the Cedar Fire, one of the biggest wildfires in the state’s history. It burned hundreds of thousands of acres, destroyed 2,000 homes and killed 15 people. 

Ohnoitsjamie/Wiki Commons

He couldn’t have just phoned for help. No one would answer an unknown number.

People hurt by the fire wanted Martinez to get the maximum penalty possible. It turned out the state couldn’t charge him with manslaughter or arson, but he pleaded guilty to “starting an illegal fire on federal property.” The judge declined to send him to prison for the possible five years, as a punishment like that wouldn’t really serve a purpose. 

He did assign Martinez to a work-furlough program, which included working with Habitat for Humanity, to rebuild houses in the affected area. Sadly, there is no equivalent charity for replacing the lives that the fire took, unless there’s some sex group we haven’t heard of called Coupling for Community. 

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see.

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