Image of the crash taken from the Standard-Examiner website.
While casual knife lovers might have a knife or two lying around the house for practical purposes, hardcore knife enthusiasts can have upwards of 50. So, when they get a new knife for their birthday or Father’s Day, it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.
However, as one man from Utah found out, that’s not always a bad thing.
Jason Navarro received a knife to add to his growing collection from his wife for Father’s Day, but he simply threw it in his work truck, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. On Monday, that one knife in a collection of many was used to save someone’s life.
A woman named Heidi Orosco was driving down a highway when she accidentally swerved into the wrong lane. When she tried to correct her error, she overcompensated and her car ended up overturned in a ditch.
Navarro and another man, Bob Nicholson, witnessed the crash, so they quickly pulled over to help the trapped woman.
Image from Blade Mag
It’s always important to be prepared in life because you never know when disaster will strike. For example, you might be attacked by a bear out of the blue or you might get trapped in a burning vehicle. You might even find yourself in the middle of a life or death situation doing something as seemingly innocuous as kayaking.
That’s what happened to three kayakers who ventured out onto Lake Michigan in Wisconsin about two weeks ago. Everything was fine until an offshore breeze pushed them out farther and knocked over the kayak. This isn’t such a big deal if all of them hadn’t become entangled in the ropes.
At this point, many knife owners would reach for their strategically placed knife, whether attached to the belt or strapped around the leg. However, none of the three had a knife nearby. When you compound that with the fact they weren’t wearing life vests, they were in deep trouble.
Fortunately, kayak tour guide Brody Kidd happened to be in the area as he was preparing to give a tour later in the day. When he saw the overturned kayak, he immediately hopped in his and headed over to help.
Like anyone who is always prepared, he was carrying his favorite John Wayne commemorative folding knife. Kidd easily cut free the three people—two of whom had severe hypothermia and were near death.
Earlier this week, we wrote about reasons why you should carry a dive knife whenever you’re at sea. Now, one Polish surfer gives yet another compelling reason to carry a sturdy knife: to stave off hungry sharks if you’re stranded in the water.
According to ABC News, 42-year-old Jan Lisewski from Poland was attempting to windsurf across the Red Sea from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. About two-thirds of the way through the journey, the winds died down and he became stranded in the shark-infested waters.
As night fell, the water became rough and he was forced to rely on an energy drink and two energy bars for sustenance. The worst part of the experience was when sharks up to 18-feet started to circle the stuck Lisewski. Fortunately, he was carrying a trusty knife.
Here’s what he said he did:
“I was stabbing them in the eyes, the nose and gills,” Lisewski told Polish state news agency PAP.
The image of this man fending off hungry sharks at night with a diving knife while eating energy bars is too awesome to disregard. Sure, some may call him crazy for trying to windsurf the Red Sea in the first place, but this man is badass.
Danger always seems to pop up when you least expect, like when a burglar bursts through your door late at night or when you get into a terrible car accident on the way home. While you can rarely predict when danger strikes, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always be prepared.
Take the Hobbs family in Texas, for example. According to the Daily News, the family was recently walking on a sidewalk between a restaurant and a lodge in the Big Bend National Park while enjoying the outdoors. Six-year-old Rivers Hobbs walked with his mom and dad, completely unaware of what was about to happen.
Creeping up on the family was a lost and very hungry cougar who waited for the perfect moment. Then, he pounced.
With little warning, the cougar lunged at the small boy and clamped down on his face. Seeing your child on the ground with a cougar mauling his face is probably unimaginatively frightening. It’s this point when the fear and shock could be too debilitating to help. Even a few seconds in the grasp of a hungry cougar is life-threatening.
But, without hesitation, Rivers’ father Jason Hobbs sprung into action, pulled out his knife and stabbed the beast in the chest. The animal immediately let go and skulked away.
The boy, who had a few gashes and puncture wounds on his face, was rushed to the hospital and stitched up. Aside from a few scars and a gnarly story, he’ll be perfectly fine.
A 69-year-old man was taking a peaceful jaunt down the street with his Jack Russel Terrier in New South Wales, Australia, when a wild, enraged staghound attacked him and his dog.
Undaunted, he used his pocket knife to fend off the beast, slaying it in the process, another prime example in our series of how knives can save lives.
Staghounds are often used, and, in many cases abused, during the process of hunting wild boars. These dogs are can weigh up to 130 pounds and are often poorly trained by cruel owners who keep them in small confines.
According to this article from ABC News, these giant staghounds have been wreaking havoc on the Australian town of Wagga Wagga lately. Last month five people were injured when two staghound dogs attacked them and officials say that the unregistered, wild dogs present a continuing problem.
You’re driving down a snowy highway on a cold winter night, when the car in front of you careens into an icy river. A distraught and panicked father climbs out, only to dive back in, desperately trying to pull his three children from the wreckage.
You jump in the water and try to help him unjam the doors, but they’re stuck. Luckily, you have your revolver on you, so you shoot into the window smashing the glass. Inside, you find the children on the verge of drowning. You try to grasp them, but they are trapped by their seat belts.
What do you do?
(a) Watch them die wishing you had a knife on you.
(b) Take out your pocket knife, slice through the seat belts and free the children.
This isn’t a fantasy or a made up story, but an account of a dramatic rescue that happened in Utah just the other day.
After witnessing the aforementioned crash, retired police offer Chris Wilden was able to stage a dramatic rescue. But according to press reports, if it wasn’t for his pocket knife, at least one of the kids, all of whom survived, would have lost their life.
One of the girls had found an air pocket and was breathing fine but was trapped in her seat belt. Willden cut it with a pocket knife and pulled her from the rear passenger window.
Image of the wrecked Mustang courtesy of SOG Knives
This blog has always touted the importance of carrying a knife, whether a lockback clipped to your belt or a Swiss Army knife tucked into your pocket. Even though certain cities and organizations demonize knives as dangerous weapons, the functionality of a knife during harrowing situations should not be underestimated.
In our series Knives Save Lives, we thoroughly document how knives are used to help those in life or death situations. I stumbled upon this next example of knives saving lives on the SOG knives blog. A customer named Zach S. submitted a story to SOG about how he used his knife to rescue someone.
The story begins when Zach, a volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for a New York fire department, was driving home from work on October 14, 2011. As these stories go, he found himself right in the middle of a terrible car crash. One car slammed into the other, but Zach was able to avoid hitting the out-of-control vehicles. Since he is a volunteer firefighter, it was instinctive of him to immediately pull over and help out at the scene of the accident.
The term “hero” is usually tossed around with careless abandon these days. You might call someone who gets you a shopping cart or someone who finds your favorite pair of pants a hero.
There are certainly a variety of uses for the term, but a true hero is someone who risks their life to save another. That’s why it’s no surprise that the two men in the next post in our series documenting how knives save lives are aptly deemed heroes.
According to the American Knife and Tool Institute, the whole story begins July 2011 on a highway in Illinois where David Kieffer was driving his Chevy S-10 pickup. As these stories always go, disaster was swift and unexpected. Out of nowhere Kieffer’s truck was rear-ended by a massive semi-truck and the power of that thing was tremendous. His truck burst into flames and he was trapped inside the crumpled vehicle.
This is always the pivotal point of a story. There could be so many possibilities. Nobody might stop to help or someone without a knife might stop and end up being ineffective regardless of intentions. Fortunately, unlike many other stories that end in disaster, two heroic men with the right tools were not far away.
Professional stuntman Daniel Narciso and National Guard vet James Halterman were nearby and instantly went to help Kieffer without worrying about getting burned or injured themselves. Since Kieffer was trapped in the burning vehicle by his seat belt, the only thing that could save him was a knife. Luckily, Halterman had his reliable Gerber Covert 154CM knife on him.
It’s remarkably rare when someone is put into a situation where they need to make a life or death decision, when their life is literally in their own hands. It’s noble for someone to think they’d react rationally and calmly in a situation like that, but it’s always much easier to say something than do it.
Donald Wyman was one of the unfortunate few who was face-to-face with death. Amazingly, he did not buckle or back down.
To get the full scope of Wyman’s story, you have to start at the beginning. In 1993, when Wyman was 37 years old, the humble Pennsylvanian was working nights and weekends to build a house with his bare hands for his wife and son. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he had already built the first floor from foundation stone he’d acquired from razing barns.
His sister-in-law described him as a fighter, optimist and survivor. He apparently grew up with three brothers who knew what to do in any situation. However, his attitude and ruggedness was truly put to the test on July 20, 1993, when his life would change forever.
That day he had just cleared some trees from the mouth of a strip mine and wanted to get some lumber for the house he was building. According to People, it was around 4 p.m. when he started cutting into a huge oak resting on a hillside. Here’s how Pam Lambert from the magazine described what happened next:
Suddenly the trunk snapped back at him and fell, pinning his leg underneath. Because the top of the tree had been wedged between others it was slightly bowed; the cut released the tension like an enormous spring. “As many trees as I’ve cut, I should have known better,” Wyman says. “It drove me right into the ground. I didn’t, know what had hit me.” Seconds later, he knew. The trunk had rolled over his left shin about seven inches below” the knee, cutting flesh, shattering bone and burying his lower leg under an immovable weight of oak.
When 61-year-old John Hutt left his Colorado home on Aug. 19 for a routine retrieval of fallen trees for firewood, he had no idea of the harrowing experience he was about to face.
The semi-retired logger headed out that Friday morning at about 8 o’clock to a deserted area off a highway to break up the trees with his heavy duty machinery.
As he was detaching the trailer of his tractor-trailer, something he told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel he’d done thousands of times, the 6 or 7 tons of metal came crashing down and pinned his foot against the rear-axle.
As you can imagine, the pain was unfathomable and worst of all, he couldn’t move. He had a cellphone in the car, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because there was no reception in there area. He called out to a nearby house, but again it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because no one was there.
Surprisingly, his instinct wasn’t to wait there in hopes that someone would come along and find him. After 30 minutes of being pinned, he’d begun to plan his escape by taking actions into his own hands. He reached into his pocket and all he had was Chapstick and his reliable 10-year-old Schrade Old Timer pocketknife.
Fearing he might pass out in shock and land in a way that would cause him to bleed more, he made the decision to free himself by cutting his toes off with the knife. So, he sliced through the boot, cut through the sock and cut through his toes, stopping only to catch his breath.
The pain of cutting through bones, tendons and nerves is unimaginable, but once he was already doing it, he knew the pain couldn’t get any worse. He estimated it took him about 10 or 15 minutes to finish.
Over the past few months, there’s been a deadly rash of attacks from grizzly bears, brown bears, black bears and even rampaging polar bears. This should remind us that whenever you go camping or into the wilderness, you should always be prepared for anything.
Back in 2003, one amazing man demonstrated why it’s important to always be ready with a knife in your pocket.
According to the Associated Press, John Hirsch, then a 61-year-old outdoorsman, was out in his backyard tending to his flock of 15 turkeys when he was surprised by a hungry visitor.
A mangy black bear had stumbled into his Canadian backyard desperately in search of food. Once Hirsch noticed the bear was coming straight at him without stopping, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his knife. Unfortunately, the only blade he had on him was a mere 3 1/2 inches.
This is when you separate the men from the boys. Instead of being afraid and cowering in fear, Hirsch stood up to the bear with his small blade ready for battle.
The latest addition of our Knives Save Lives series reports on how a young girl in New Orleans was nearly strangled by her seatbelt, before a passerby used a $5 pocketknife to set her free.
According to an article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Evelyn Saenz was riding in a booster seat in the back seat of her parent’s car, when somehow the seat belt became wrapped around her neck. Evelyn’s mother, Kelly, said that her daughter was being strangled and there was little she or her husband could do.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kelly said. “It was like (the movie) ‘Christine.’ It just locked up and, no matter how hard we pulled, we couldn’t undo it. It was like a noose and it just kept getting tighter and tighter. It was strangling her.”
The couple pulled over into a convenience store, where Evelyn’s father, Joseph, retrieved a box cutter, but it failed to cut through the belt. Meanwhile, little Evelyn was turning blue.
If it hadn’t been for one man’s initiative and quick access to a knife, a woman from Maine could have been burned alive in an accident late last week, which earns it a place in our Knives Save Lives series.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Laura Morgan’s 2004 Toyota Camry veered off the road and flipped on its side after crashing into a tree.
Luckily, 35-year-old Chad Curtis heard the ruckus and went to investigate. He saw the car quickly filling with smoke at the bottom of an embankment and rushed to the vehicle.
Here’s how the article described the situation:
He found Morgan hanging out the driver’s side door against her seat belt, which was making it hard for her to breathe. There was smoke coming from the ruined front of the car, but no flames yet. Curtis unfastened the lower portion of the seat belt, but the upper portion, which operates separately from the lower belt, was still tangled around Morgan.
Morgan was in and out of consciousness and people were slowly gathering around the accident, but time was sticking away with the woman still trapped in the volatile vehicle.
As he was trying to pull her out, an unidentified hero tossed Curtis a knife, which he promptly used to cut her out of the seat belt. They carried her to safety and in minutes, the car was completely engulfed in flames.
There’s no denying Chad’s action helped save her life, but without the knife of a mysterious bystander, he would have had a difficult time getting her out, which may have resulted in unimaginable ramifications.
When you think of dangerous activities, things like skydiving, drag racing, free climbing and white-water rafting might pop into your head.
You probably don’t think something as mundane as putting on a seat belt is dangerous, but our latest installment of knives save lives is a testament that danger can strike at any moment.
In November of 2006, Kaamilya Wilson was on a routine trip in the car with her then five-year-old son David and family when disaster struck.
While putting on his seat belt, David somehow became entangled and the belt tightly wrapped around his neck. An old piece in the ABC local news featured an interview with David and his sister about the incident.
“I was trying to buckle myself and it snatched me back, so it got around my neck,” explained David.
“I was scared because he was turning colors and he couldn’t breath,” said his older sister, Alicia.
When something like that happens, panic usually sets in and it did with Kaamilya who was screaming and hollering in fear. Another passenger in the car waved down an officer passing by, but he couldn’t do anything to untangle the boy because it was too tight around his neck.
Precious time was ticking away.
As everyone knows, animals are unpredictable and curiously mercurial. One moment they might seem like harmless creatures out in the wild and the next thing you know, they are viciously and mercilessly attacking anything within sight.
The most recent installment of Knives Save Lives, our effort to illuminate the ways knives have saved lives, demonstrated how a blade rescued campers from the clutches of a rabid mountain lion. Two other stories featured an attack by two pit bulls and a bear.
Our next story of heroic knives takes us deep into the wild of southern Africa.
Joe Viljoen and his two sons, Micha and Zen, run a business out of South Africa called Brave Heart Safaris that takes amateur hunters on trips to hunt big game. Some of the species you can hunt include giraffes, hyenas, elephants, antelopes, lions and warthogs among others.
A few years back, a routine hunt for cape buffalo turned into a potentially deadly trip.
If a human or animal is infected by rabies, the virus first enters the Central Nervous System before inflaming the brain. This inflammation invokes bouts of mania and galvanizes animals to attack anything within sight.
For a dog or raccoon, this could be dangerous, but for a mountain lion, rabies could be deadly if humans are around.
This was the situation a group of campers faced in the fall of 2004. The four campers were woken at their cabin in Northern California by a fight between their collie and a mountain lion. To scare off the mountain lion, they hastily built a fire outside.
The mountain lion disappeared and it seemed like they were safe until the lion charged out from underneath the cabin and attacked Kathleen Strehl. Mountain lions aren’t usually overtly aggressive against people, but later tests revealed this one was infected with the rabies virus. Animals with rabies are extremely vicious and voraciously persistent.
With the 60-pound beast mauling Strehl, her husband Chuck Strehl and Troy Winslow wrestled the cat off her.
This is the part of the story where having a knife handy prevented the situation from getting uglier.
On June 5, 2003, Canadian farmer Bruce Osiowy was getting ready for another hot day in the field using his new machine that picks up rocks, which he used to have to do by hand.
To the cash crop farmer, life seemed good.
However, what started out like another day on the farm would soon turn into a harrowing 66-hour ordeal for Osiowy.
After picking up a few loads of rocks with his machine, the transport arm of the rockpicker malfunctioned.
So, he tried to release the transport arm with a wrench, but when he did, the whole thing came crashing down on his hand.
Despite screaming for help and banging a hammer against the machine, no one came to his aid. He was stuck all alone in the middle of the field on a Thursday night.
For the next two and a half days, he went without food and water. At night when it grew cold, his collie dog would curl up on top of him to keep him warm.
In the latest installment of our series detailing how knives save lives, we take to the skies.
On May 28, 1990, passengers of a routine flight to San Antonio were going about their typical business as the plane they were on entered the cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.
Everything seemed to be going normally until a woman frantically told a flight attendant that her 89-year-old husband didn’t appear to be breathing. According to the attendant, the man looked darkish gray and wasn’t responding. His immediate diagnosis was total airway obstruction.
So, the attendant did what everyone has learned to do for someone who can’t breathe. He administered the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR, but to no avail. The man was in deep trouble.
Luckily, there were two doctors a few sets behind who sprung into action. They knew his airway was completely obstructed, and there was only one device that could save this man: a knife.
This is the sixth post in a series that explores cases around the world in which a knife is used to save someone’s life or prevent serious injury.
You never know when something bad is going to happen. Chanda Davis was in one of these unexpected situations in her usually safe South Carolina backyard.
Earlier this month, she was outside her home with her 2-year-old daughter getting a grill ready when all of a sudden two pit bulls skulked into her backyard.
According to an interview, Davis’ daughter shouted “mommy” and when she turned around the two pit bulls were making a move toward her.
Davis instantly picked up her little girl and tossed her on the hood of the car so the pit bulls couldn’t reach.
That’s when the dogs turned on her. Luckily, Davis’ English bulldog came running to her side and the three dogs began viciously fighting one another, so Davis sprung into action.
I think it’s obvious to say that war is dangerous. That’s where tensions are always high, lives are at risk and sheer survival is the number one priority.
So, it’s probably no surprise that in wartime situations, knives have a greater propensity to save lives than in everyday situations. However, this next story in our series Knives Save Lives shows just how carrying a knife and having a lot of luck can save a life.
It begins in October of 1993 during the Battle of Mogadishu when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down. For anyone unfamiliar with this story, I recommend the film or book Black Hawk Down, which details the skirmish between United States military and Somali militia fighters who were loyal to the Somali president.
Navy SEAL John Gay was part of the operation to recover the crew of the helicopters. As bullets were flying, Gay valiantly carried out his mission until he was struck by an AK-47 round.
For most people, if they’re shot with a bullet in the hip, it could be devastating, but in battle, any serious injury could be fatal because of the presence of an enemy. However, Gay went relatively unscathed thanks to the presence of his Randall Bowie knife.