127 Hours is the 2010 film all about an incident which occurred in 2003, when Aron Ralston got stuck in a canyon in Utah while canyoning. With his arm stuck between a boulder and the canyon wall, Aron spent 127 hours stuck fast before he decided to cut off his arm using a survival knife, allowing him to escape and find medical help.
While this story is well know there are plenty more which aren’t so celebrated. Here are a selection from the last few years in America:
In 2011 an Illinois driver crashed off the road and ended up trapped in his burning pick-up truck. Fortunately he was rescued by two men who used a Gerber knife to cut his seatbelt in order to free him from the vehicle.
When a North Dakota farmer got the sleeve of his jacket caught in the power take-off of his tractor in 2009 he faced serious injury as his arm was pulled into the machine. Fortunately he was able to grab his sheath knife with his free hand and cut the sleeve before his arm was mangled by the revolving shaft.
A Colorado rancher was working on installing a new irrigation system last year when a pile of heavy irrigation pipes fell off the back of his truck and landed on top of him. With the breath being squeezed out of him the rancher was able to stretch for his knife and cut the rope which was holding the stacks of pipes together. Once the rope had been cut the individual pipes rolled away and the rancher was able to escape.
In 2012 an electrician in Oregon was working overtime one Saturday morning when he fell through a skylight and ended up suspended by cable wrapped around his ankle. Unable to climb back up he’s forced to cut the wire with his knife. While he falls and breaks his collarbone, he manages to release himself before passing out.
While on a canoeing trip into the Canadian wilderness in 2013 a canoeist from Minnesota had his life saved by his knife. While rowing below a roaring waterfall in Quetico Provincial Park the canoeist’s dog leapt ashore, tipping the canoe and it started taking in water. The canoeist is caught in the anchor rope of the canoe and as it sinks he’s being pulled under, but manages to cut himself free and watches his gear go down – without him.
In 2010 a deer hunter in Iowa took a trip into an unfamiliar woodland and managed to fall into a partly frozen stream with steep banks. The hunter was stuck, unable to climb the banks of the stream. However, he had a folding buck knife in his pocket, which he was able to use as a makeshift ice-pick to pull himself up the bank to safety.
While this doesn't justify taking a 12" bowie knife out with you for a night out, it does go to show that having the right knife at the right time can be a life saver!