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I Shouldn't Be Alive

Aired April 27, 2006 - 21:00   ET




LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, real people who defied death and live to tell unforgettable stories of survival. Meet Deborah Scaling Kiley. She was adrift and starving in the Pacific Ocean. How did she live to tell about it?

Warren MacDonald, hiking, trapped under a one-ton rock in the bed of a rising creek.

Chris Moon, a landmine-clearing specialist was captured by ruthless Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Cambodia.

Yossi Ghinsberg, his adventure of a lifetime in the Amazon went horribly wrong.

And Les "Survivor Man" Stroud, he does those sorts of things on purpose for his own TV show.

They're all next. We'll take your calls, all on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: Hi, everybody.

Tonight, some ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinarily dangerous situations. They lived, but in some cases their companions in danger didn't. Their stories are all part of a Discovery Channel series called "I Shouldn't Be Alive."

And later, you'll meet a man who puts himself in dangerous situations for a week at a time, all for the sake of his television show.

First up tonight is Deborah Scaling Kiley. She was part of a crew of people who were sailing a yacht on September 11th -- sailing a yacht from New England to its new owners in south Florida. The yacht sank, leaving her and four others adrift in shark-infested Atlantic Oceans.

Only Deborah and one other person survived. She's now a well- known motivational speaker, author of "No Victims, Only Survivors," a book I'm holding here in my hand. And there you see she also wrote "The Sinking." What was your role here, taking the yacht from where to where?

DEBORAH SCALING KILEY, SURVIVOR OF SHIPWRECK AT SEA: Basically, we went from Annapolis to Florida. I was the crew. There was the skipper, John Lipof (ph), Brent Cavanaugh (ph), the skipper's girlfriend, Meg Mooney, and a British sailor named Mark Adams.

KING: Delivering it to whom?

KILEY: To the owner in Florida.

KING: Is that what you did, you...

KILEY: Not really. I was just in the moment of going back to Florida to start another racing series.

KING: So that's sort of skirting the borders, going right down to...

KILEY: We were actually -- you know, depending on the weather, we were either going to either go off to Bermuda and then head back to Florida, or kind of just come down the coast. It really depended on the weather, and the weather forecast was perfect for that time.

KING: What time of year?

KILEY: Late October 1982.

KING: And you're an accomplished yachtswoman, right?

KILEY: Yes, sir, I was the first American woman to sail in the Whitford Around the World Race (ph).

KING: What happened?

KILEY: We hit an un-forecast storm, much like "The Perfect Storm," a occluded front. And the boat went down. It went down in less than two seconds. It just went down. We had time to get a Coast Guard mayday off, get out on the deck, unlash the rubber zodiac dinghy from the deck, and get off the boat. Our life raft blew away.

KING: Did you see it coming?

KILEY: No, we did not. We had a little -- you know, there was an inkling, because, for a few days before, the weather began to build. But there was no forecast for it, and it just never -- it kind of came on us without much, you know, knowledge beforehand.

KING: How big were the waves?

KILEY: The waves sort of, in the end, were about 45 to 50 feet. Winds were 90, gusting 120.

KING: Did you think you bought it?

KILEY: I sailed around the world. I'd never seen anything like this before, but, you know, I've got this thing in my mind. No, I never thought I bought it.

KING: What you're seeing on the screen is, of course, re- enactments of what happened to Deborah and her crew. Now, how many died?

KILEY: There were three people who died, two people who survived. The sharks got two. They drank salt water, thought they saw land. One went to get the truck. One went to 7-Eleven for cigarettes and beer. Sharks ate him underneath the raft that night. The girl that died, the skipper's girlfriend, died from wounds sustained as the boat sank, and she died of blood poisoning in my arms.

KING: What you mean, going to a 7-Eleven?

KILEY: You drink saltwater, and it just causes kidney failure, you know, renal failure, and it causes all the cells in your body to explode. And it makes you become delirious.

KING: Oh, so he thought he was going...

KILEY: He thought he was going to 7-Eleven to get beer and cigarettes.

KING: Did you watch them die?

KILEY: I watched them die; I heard them die; I felt them die. Mark Adams was truly eaten underneath the raft by sharks. And I don't -- there was no given moment where Brad and I didn't think that we were next along with Meg. We knew Meg was pretty much -- she was in a place where she was going to die. And if the sharks didn't bite into the raft, we were very...

KING: How close did you come to sharks?

KILEY: I could reach out and touch them. I don't really care.

KING: Why do you think you lived?

KILEY: I lived because I made good decisions. There's a lot of luck and timing out there. I lived because I went with my gut.

I became aware of the situation that I was in. I was in the ocean, and I had to adapt. I gathered seaweed to insulate us from the cold. The weather was about 40 degrees.

And I didn't give up. I never gave up. For every survival kit that you may have -- which, in my new book, I have a survival kit -- for whatever you have about you that is usable, this, the human brain, is the most important thing you've got.

KING: But you're scared, aren't you?

KILEY: Hell, yes, you're scared. But if you let panic set in, that's tough. There's a lot of luck and timing that goes on, too. You know, I'm going to tell you right now, if we had sunk anywhere else in the Atlantic but the gulf stream, we would have died just like that, because the water was 55 degrees in the rest of the Atlantic. However, in the gulf stream, 76.

KING: In the middle of the storm, Mark on deck loses the only life raft with any supplies on board. The only thing left is a rubber dinghy. Take a look at how it all game down.


ANNOUNCER: Mark frantically struggles to free the fiberglass canister that contains an inflatable life raft and survival equipment, while Brad tries to salvage the small rubber dinghy. Mark heaves the canister off the boat and follows it into the ocean.

KILEY: The life raft deflates. Mark is still holding on, and eventually he just lets go. The life raft is blown away, and we weren't going to find it in the middle of the night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you manage to get anything from the yacht?



KILEY: We're all gathered around the rubber zodiac dinghy, and I remember watching Trashman, as the last little foot of her mast slipped under the water, and it was the most devastatingly lonely feeling that I've ever felt in my life.


KING: What were you holding on to?

KILEY: My sanity. You know, you cling to what you know best. And I had been on the ocean for several years, and I knew that I had to live from moment to moment. And as long as I could stay on the fine line of sanity and insanity, I really believed I could make it.

I didn't know whether I was going to wash up on some shore or, in fact, the Coast Guard would show up, but I knew I would make it.

KING: Could you see any land?

KILEY: No, absolutely none.

KING: we're going to go to break. When we come back, we'll find out how you got out of all of this. As we go to break, with Deborah Scaling Kiley, a re-enactment of their first confrontation with sharks.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not touching you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hit me again. Cut it out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you talking about? I'm not kicking you.


KILEY: And I thought, you know what? I'm going to look in the water, and I'm going to see where his legs are, and I'm going to stay as far away from him as I can. And it was the most eerie sensation, hundreds of sharks. They were everywhere.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just going over for a minute, just to stretch my legs, to get rid of the cramps, just for a moment. I have to stretch my legs, then I'll get right back in.

KILEY: We feel this bam. Then we feel a bam again. And there's like this frenzied attack, and the sharks are eating Mark underneath the zodiac.


KING: boy, that's all from "I Shouldn't Be Alive," a weekly on the Discovery Channel. Our guest is Deborah Scaling Kiley, author of, "No Victims, Only Survivors."

You have a foundation with that name, right?

KILEY: We're working on it right now. My lawyers are establishing it right now. It's really my goal, through this book, to really work with people and take them from that victimization into being survivors.

I tell stories of many different survivors here, and breast cancer, celiac's disease, there's diabetes. Yossi's story, who is here tonight, is also in there.

KING: You compare that to out in the water with sharks?

KILEY: Oh, you know what? Everybody in this world, for every little mouse scurrying around the ground, there is a hawk overhead waiting to come down and get you. Your train wreck is around the corner. And I believe that, in this millennium, with global warming, with the population, and terrorism, we will all be confronted with some form of catastrophe. You'd better be prepared.

KING: How long were you out there?

KILEY: Five days.

KING: how were you rescued?

KILEY: By a Russian freighter in the middle of the Cold War. Now, how is that for a gift of grace wrapped in very funky paper?

KING: And he just came up?

KILEY: They just showed up.

KING: You had no radio to signal anyone?

KILEY: No, sir.

KING: The Coast Guard never found you?

KILEY: No, sir. The Coast Guard received a call that said we were safely moored in Wilmington. They never went to check it out, and they were quite surprised when they got a call from the Russian freighter, Oldinorsk (ph), that we were alive.

KING: And these are stills of the actual rescue, right?

KILEY: Yes, they are. They were taken by the doctor on board.

KING: Did they speak English?

KILEY: No, they did not. And after I realized, I tried my French, my Spanish, and a little Italian. Once I realized they were Russian, I didn't really even care that I was going to Russia. I was going somewhere.

KING: Where did they take you to?

KILEY: They actually got a hold of the Coast Guard in Charleston, South Carolina. And the Coast Guard said, "No, no, can't be." They checked it out. They had to bring in a pizza owner to translate, so they allowed the Russian freighter to come in to the three-mile buoy, and we were transferred to a Coast Guard cutter.

KING: Is it true that you considered cannibalism?

KILEY: We did consider it, but Meg's body was already too infected.

KING: So you had no food?

KILEY: No food. We did catch a small fish under the boat at one point, probably -- well, who knows what it was. And we had been chattering for so long, our teeth had chattered for so long, because we had already gone into hypothermia, that we were unable to chew the fish.

KING: Did you think you were going to die?

KILEY: Never thought I was going to die. I didn't ever.

KING: Never thought, even though the rest are dying around you? KILEY: I don't know. It's that little funky piece of grace -- that I don't know. I just can't tell you, no. I believed that I would live. I worked hard to live. I wasn't going to give up, no.

KING: What were the sharks like?

KILEY: Big. I know that the rubber zodiac dinghy was 11 feet long, and there was one shark that continued to surface, just like a submarine alongside of us. And it was about three feet longer than the rubber zodiac dinghy.

And you could just reach out and touch it. You could literally push it away, and it would come back, but they were constantly there. It was as if they were keeping a vigil.

KING: With Meg's body, you took off stuff for her family, took off jewelry, and...

KILEY: We took off all of her -- she only had on a shirt. She had some jogging pants that were ripped off when the boat went down. We took off all of her jewelry, gave it to her family at a later date. We saved her shirt, just in case we would need it.

And then, Brad and I gently laid her body on the side of the boat. We said the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23, and we buried her at sea.

KING: Did you still go out delivering yachts?

KILEY: I have since done a Bermuda race and several other races. And, no, not just delivering yachts. I've done a couple of races with really professional sailors, people that I really trust.

KING: No fear of the water?

KILEY: You know what? Let's put it this way: I was in Hawaii last week, and I was watching those kids surf out there, way out there. There was no way you were catching me out there.

KING: Before you leave us, any quick secret of survival?

KILEY: Go with your gut. You have got to be mentally, physically and spiritually prepared. In the back of my new book, there is a survival kit. FEMA says you need to be able to take care of yourself for three days? Take care of yourself for three weeks. Read my new book; get prepared.

KING: Thank you, Deborah.

KILEY: Thank you, Larry.

KING: What a story, Deborah Scaling Kiley.

When we come back, Yossi Ghinsberg, another incredible tale of survival. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... there's a ship. Turn around.

KILEY: Look how close it is. And I turned around, and it was amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They threw all their life-saving equipment out at us. And Debbie jumps off the boat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No good-byes, nothing?





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on?

GHINSBERG: After a long time in the river, I was (INAUDIBLE) into the surface.

ANNOUNCER: The current has carried Yossi so far down the river that two miles of rugged canyon now separate him from Kevin. As Kevin works his way downriver, Yossi struggles back up the canyon towards him.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Yossi Ghinsberg, also part of the program "I Shouldn't Be Alive."

He took a spontaneous trek into the Amazon jungle of Bolivia with three other people. The tour guide promised a quick trek to an undiscovered ancient village. Thirty days later, only two of the four came out alive.

Yossi has written a book about it called "Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival." There you see its cover. Yossi was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and lives in Australia.

All right, what was the trip all about? Where were you?

GHINSBERG: I was young, out of the military service in Israel. I was looking for a big adventure, and I was searching for it.

So I went to South America, and my hero was Papillion. I followed his tracks. And a year later, in a way I felt that maybe the time of great exploration was all behind. Well, one day in the streets of La Paz, I met an Austrian geologist that was just about to enter the uncharted and make contact with untouched tribe of indigenous people. KING: Go where none have tread before?

GHINSBERG: Yes, and I wanted it so badly that I literally begged him to take me with him on to this adventure. Little did I know he made up the adventure for me.

KING: He was not an experienced guide?

GHINSBERG: He was an experienced jungle man, but he wasn't an Austrian geologist. He was actually an escaped -- he was, like, related to some bad stuff (INAUDIBLE) and he was refugee in Bolivia.

KING: Who else went?

GHINSBERG: Two of my good friends joined me. One was a traveling companion I met on the road, a Swiss guy named Marcus, and another was an American photographer named Kevin.

KING: So where did you go?

GHINSBERG: We flew out of the city to as remote as an airplane can take you. And then we started walking. After four days, we arrived at the last -- the fringe of civilization, the last (INAUDIBLE) we rested there for a couple of days, and then we started hiking into the uncharted.

KING: And when did you realize something was wrong with the guide?

GHINSBERG: One day, we were looking for to make fire. We bought 10 lighters. We found only one. He traded with the last Indians, he traded nine out of 10 lighters he left behind. I mean, he set us up. It was a set-up. He wanted...

KING: For what purpose?

GHINSBERG: I don't know. He never came back. We couldn't find out.

KING: You never saw him again?


KING: You mean, he deserted you?

GHINSBERG: No, he died.

KING: Doing?

GHINSBERG: We don't know, he just disappeared, vanished into the wilderness.

KING: So now there's how many of you, three?

GHINSBERG: No, no, after a month together, one of us was injured. We couldn't continue. We went down to the river. We built a raft, and we tried to evacuate on the river.

Then we started fighting with each other. The leader, the Austrian, it wasn't as good on the river. He couldn't swim. The American that was tough guy from Oregon took over the leadership. They were at each other's throats.

They split the group into two. They were speaking German, the Swiss and the Austrian. We were speaking English, which was like disaster. And it split us.

And then we made a tragic, tragic mistake, or not, you know? But what we did was tragic any way. We split in the middle of an uncharted. We just couldn't take it anymore.

So two went one direction, and the other two, Kevin and I, stayed on the raft. They have disappeared, never seen again. Kevin and I stuck together for three hours before we hit the waterfalls. The raft went down, broke to pieces. I was taken by the current, and I found myself alone: no equipment, no fire, no gun, no knife, nothing, no Kevin.

KING: Did he die?

GHINSBERG: No, Kevin didn't die. Kevin is the major reason I'm alive.

KING: Because, what did he do?

GHINSBERG: He was saved by his own virtues and by the -- you know, like, twice a year there's a tribe of Indians that goes upriver to hunt. It was that time. So twice a year it happens, they found Kevin. They took him out, and he came back for me.

KING: How long were you alone?

GHINSBERG: Three weeks.

KING: Three weeks?

GHINSBERG: Three weeks.

KING: You had food?

GHINSBERG: No, no food.

KING: What did you eat?

GHINSBERG: Not much. I was very efficient, though. I was constantly walking downriver trying to get out of that situation to reach civilization and very alert to any movement. So if I see a snake, the snake was in trouble. If I see a bird flying, I would search for the nest, rob the eggs. Rotten fruits, because I couldn't get fresh fruits, because the trees were too high, anything.

KING: Meet any people?

GHINSBERG: No, no, there's nobody there. It's really remote part of the world.

KING: How, Yossi, did you keep your sanity?

GHINSBERG: My sanity kept me -- you know, like, it is a certain thing, Larry, that just acting naturally. Surviving is not something you need to learn. You don't need to learn survival skills; you have them already. That's why we're here, all of us, because it's a game of survival anyway.

So once you hit like that place, where everything is stripped from you, everything is taken from you, you really discover who you really are. I discovered that I'm a real hero, that I can deal with that situation, that I can rise up to the challenge. And my sanity was a natural choice, because of worry, fear, they wear you down, they take energy from you.

KING: Did you think you were going to die?

GHINSBERG: A couple of times. There was a moment where I wanted to die, and there was one moment where I was, you know, a few moments where I met death face to face.

KING: Why did you want to die?

GHINSBERG: Because an airplane passed in the sky, and he didn't see me. This was too much. Everything else, I could take, but the moment this airplane passed above my head, and it couldn't see me, I just collapsed. And I wanted to die.

KING: Yossi Ghinsberg is with us. We'll continue with another segment. He's part of the program "I Shouldn't Be Alive." He's author of the book "Jungle." We'll be right back. Don't go away.


GHINSBERG: I looked as the flashlight went on. The moment I put the beam on, I see the face of a jaguar.

I had a cigarette lighter, and I had a can of repellent. And I remember that I saw that in a movie that you can actually set the repellant on fire.




GHINSBERG: The buzz is in my ears, and as I raise my head, and no, I don't see (inaudible). But when I turn my head, I see shades and some people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay where you are.

GHINSBERG: We just hold each other and hold each other. Now it's just emotion. We cry and cry and cry. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't believe that we found him. If he would have been upstream just 100 yards away, he wouldn't have heard us. We wouldn't have seen him.


KING: We're back with Yossi Ghinsberg. He's written a book, "Jungle," he's part of the series "I Shouldn't Be Alive." And for sure he shouldn't.

Did you pray for death?

GHINSBERG: Did I pray for death? I did one time. I wanted to die so badly. And I didn't want to die. I wanted to rest, you know. And I knew the only rest I would find is in death.

So I was praying to death. And then, you know, like I've experienced miracles. I've experienced miracles that literally saved me from death.

KING: What happened?

GHINSBERG: Somebody else started crying. And I was there lying in the mud, crying and praying to die, when I suddenly hear a young woman crying. And it was so bizarre but so real that it made me stop crying for a second, and I raised my head. And the moment I raised my head, everything was like natural. I jumped on my feet. I started screaming "get up, get up, we have to make it to the shore because an airplane may come back again." And for two days, I lived only because of her. I lived only because she was there, and I needed to take care of her.

KING: Where did she come from?

GHINSBERG: I don't know. I don't know, because there was a certain moment when I had to let her go because I made her a place to sleep and I asked her to come closer to me...

KING: So you don't know how she came out?

GHINSBERG: Well, she wasn't real, but I didn't...

KING: Oh, it was all fantasy.

GHINSBERG: It was fantasy, but it wasn't my own fantasy. I didn't make it up. It just came into...

KING: The two who you never saw again, you don't know what happened to them, right?

GHINSBERG: No, nobody knows. We went searching for them several times.

KING: You were telling me during the break that you don't so much believe in survival as in -- when your time comes, your time comes? GHINSBERG: Absolutely. You know, it's not about, you know, life and death is much -- it's a much greater mystery. I touched that mystery. That's why I am speaking for -- I know I'm alive not because of my survival skills. This would be ridiculous for me to think that. I mean, I discovered the will to stay alive, which is definitely something that kept me alive, because life is sacred. And when you reach that purity, you'd do anything to stick to life.

But death -- the reason that I'm alive is miraculous, and I believe that that's the reason for all of us being alive. It's not about surviving. There's a mystery to life and death.

KING: How were you rescued?

GHINSBERG: I was rescued literally by a miracle. Kevin, my friend, came up river searching for me for three days. He was in a canoe with three people, searching for me. Two were volunteers, indigenous people, that risked their own life for no chance -- nobody believed they could find a gringo in the rainforest three weeks after he disappeared. And after three days, they couldn't continue. The river was too narrow. Logs were shooting down. They decided to turn. But the motor man on the canoe couldn't do the maneuver because the river was too narrow. So he couldn't turn. They were trying. They couldn't turn. They were forced to push up river, looking for a place to land, and then turn the boat manually and go down.

They landed on the place where I was hallucinating. They didn't see me and I didn't see them. And then they landed to turn. Kevin started crying. He burst into tears as they were turning the boat and pushing it down.

I heard the throttle of the motor but didn't think it's a motor. I thought it was a bee or a wasp. I was trying to get rid of it. In the very last moment, when the noise was so strong in my ears, I raised my head, and I saw the shadows of the people on the river. And I managed to jump on my feet and they saw me.

KING: Did you think it was hallucination?

GHINSBERG: I did think it was hallucination. I wasn't sure at all at that time.

KING: Where did they take you to?

GHINSBERG: We were three days on the river. And I'll never forget that, because we founder one hunter that was drying deer meat, and we stopped there. And I was chewing on the jerky all the way down to Luenabache (ph). Luenabache is the jungle town. They took me there. All I remember is keep eating all the time. I was eating nonstop.

KING: Do you still want to go exploring?

GHINSBERG: I am. I'm going exploring all the time. I went back to the same place, to the same river, and made it my home. I lived there for three years with the Indians that live in that remote area. I made it my home and lived there for three years.

KING: Why?

GHINSBERG: It wasn't planned. I went back to say thank you, and as I told them, you know, like I came to see them, they said they need help. They wanted to build a resort. And I thought it was a worthy cause, so I quit my life and I joined their life. And for three years, I was one of them. And we built this amazing resort on that river. There's a beautiful resort there today.

Now, in Australia, I live in the living rainforest. I live in a national park or rainforest. I go exploring every year, but I'm not an adrenaline freak. I'm not looking for trouble. Not at all. I'm going after remote places because I'd sit by the fire and tell stories. That's my interest. It's more cultural and natural. I love nature.

KING: What did you learn from all this?

GHINSBERG: I learned one thing, Larry. I was shaken -- everything that I learned was taken from me. You know, like I learned that I needed -- there's something about life that I needed to find out for myself. I became a searcher for death's truth, and the entire -- I couldn't go back to normal life.

So I searched a lot for meaning after that experience. And I found a lot of meaning. And I found, you know, like that -- there's something about it. You know, you find your own faith. And I want to say something about it. Because I came from a family -- although I grew up in Israel, my father was a total atheist, due to the Holocaust. And after that, he just didn't believe in God. And I maybe absorbed that from him.

There is one moment in anybody's life when you go down on your knees and you cry for help. It's like in the core, just like survival. You don't need to learn it. Also faith. So I found that, Larry, and that makes life a totally different experience.

KING: Honor meeting you.

GHINSBERG: My pleasure. Thank you so much.

KING: Yossi Ghinsberg. He's the author of the book "Jungle." He's part of the series "I Shouldn't Be Alive."

Next, we'll meet Chris Moon, who was captured by the Cambodian Khmer Rouge rebels while on a mission to disable leftover Vietnam-era landmines. Wait until you hear this story. Don't go away.


CHRIS MOON: We were going down the same road that we'd always been going up and down when we reached a clearing. And I saw some movement in the bushes. And I just felt something was wrong.

When suddenly out of the tree line charged 30 well-camouflaged soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are Khmer Rouge fighters who are still active in this area of the country.

MOON: Your mind absolutely races, thinking, God, are they just going to shoot us here?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The three-day absence of Chris and his colleagues has triggered a search effort. What Chris hears in the distance is a United Nations helicopter, scanning the forest for Chris and his team. But the Khmer Rouge think it's a spotter helicopter. They believe a full-scale air attack could be close behind. Mr. Clever (ph) now sees his prisoners as a dangerous liability. He needs to get rid of them fast.


KING: We now welcome Chris Moon to LARRY KING LIVE. He was captured by Cambodian Khmer Rouge rebels while in a mission to disable leftover Vietnam-era land mines. Two years later, he survived a land mine explosion while doing volunteer work. He wrote a book called "One Step Beyond," out in paperback. How did you come to be captured by the Khmer Rouge?

CHRIS MOON, KIDNAPPED BY CAMBODIAN REBELS: It was my second day in that mine field. We'd been asked to clear a border village by United Nations. We all believed at that point that the Khmer Rouge did not have the ability to actually affect us, operating in the village. But something happened.

KING: Who is the we, you were with who?

MOON: I was working for a British charity and we worked very closely with the local government, with the local nongovernment organizations and of course the United Nations transitional authority.

KING: So what happened?

MOON: Khmer Rouge moved a special force we didn't know they had. And we were driving back from the minefield, we were coming across a clearing. I rubbed my eyes. I thought I must be tired. The bushes are moving and suddenly they turned into soldiers. They were very well camouflaged. They charged at us. I turned my Land Rover wheel and as I turned the vehicle, there was a cutoff group behind. We were going nowhere. We were out of the vehicles.

KING: How many of you were taken?

MOON: Just myself. The three of us that were arrested and abducted were myself, my interpreter, the head Cambodian and the driver of a truck. I was driving a Land Rover.

KING: How long were you held?

MOON: Three days.

KING: What was it like?

MOON: The longest three days of my life. There was no concept of us being held for a time. It was going to be over one way or the other. They were either going to release us or execute us.

KING: Was it 50/50?

MOON: The fascinating thing was going back to research the program for discovery. I met the Khmer Rouge commander who made the decision not to execute us and he's -- he told us that it was going to happen.

In the end, I established a relationship with him in which it was possible to find the goodness in him. And he believed that -- they accused me of being a foreign adviser, which I wasn't, of course, but then again when you consider what had happened before, how many advisers from the Soviet bloc there were before, we had a Russian truck. Perhaps you can understand if you lived in the jungle, you've based your information on what you heard from Khmer Rouge. And Khmer Rouge radio never won an award for impartial reporting.

KING: Did they torture you?

MOON: No. We were well treated. But of course, it was going to be over one way or the other. We were either going to be killed or released. And sadly after us, most of the people that were taken were executed.

KING: How did you lose your hand?

MOON: I was running a program in Mozambique about two years later. I was walking up a clear lane where the mines had been removed, but it wasn't possible for the miners to find one and as a result I lost my lower right arm and leg, but I lived.

KING: Why do you think you're here?

MOON: Why do I think I'm alive? Because of a number of things. One, because I actively controlled my thoughts and I never allowed myself to think like a victim. By the grace of God, without doubt and because I never gave up.

KING: Was there a time you ever thought you would not get out?

MOON: Yes. There was several times certainly when we were kidnapped. Because the thing about being a prisoner is you're waiting. You start to torture yourself. You start to think of all the horrible things they've done to people.

And particularly when the helicopter flew over. I was astonished to see how many soldiers there were in the area firing. I subsequently learned we were in a Khmer Rouge divisional area, there were loads of them. That was a very big low. There were points when they were talking about killing us.

KING: Ever try to escape?

MOON: That opportunity did not arise. It was always in my mind. If And of course if I'd gone and left my colleagues, they would have been killed or vice versa. They guarded us pretty well. They knew what they were doing. They had a lot of practice.

KING: It must have been terrible.

MOON: Yes, I think that certainly affected me more than being blown up because for three days you're thinking, will we or will we not live? When you know the odds are against you and dealing with the obvious physical disadvantages, that's just a different way of thinking.

KING: You went back, huh?

MOON: Yes, yes. I passionately believed in what I was doing. Very proud to have done it. And I must admit I never thought that of all the things, we dealt with some very dangerous situations sometimes, but to be blown up walking in a cleared area, it's kind of a bit like a lightning strike. But I always said if my guys missed a mine, I wanted to be the first to know about it and I was, so I can't complain. We've got to take responsibility for our decisions in life.

KING: Thank you, Chris..

MOON: Thank you.

KING: Chris Moon, what a story. The book he wrote is "One Step Beyond." Pretty good title. Right now let's check in New York with Anderson Cooper. He will host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes tonight, Larry, another story about defying the odds and surviving. What happened to Randy McCloy inside the Sago Mine? It is a question many people have been asking for months. Tonight for the first time, we have answers from Randy McCloy himself. We learn today new incredible details about Randy McCloy's hours inside that mine. Tonight, all the angles.

We'll also hear from a relative of one of the 12 miners who did not make it out alive. That's ahead at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: Well it's a night of survival. That's "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at 10:00 Eastern. We'll be right back with more. We'll meet Warren MacDonald, lower body trapped under a massive boulder on a remote Australian island. He lost both legs. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The terrified young soldiers agreed to guide them out to the edge of their territory. It is now their third night in the Khmer Rouge region and Chris is determined it will be the last. At the edge of the forest, the boy soldiers return to their village leaving Chris and his team to make the final stretch of the journey to freedom alone. After 10 hours of trekking through treacherous forest without food and with very little water, they make it to the village where they started out. The chances of surviving capture by the Khmer Rouge were almost zero, but Chris Moon and his companions beat the odds.



KING: Another gentlemen part of the extraordinary "I Shouldn't Be Alive" series is Warren MacDonald. His lower body was trapped under a massive boulder on a remote Australian island, lost both legs as a result. He's a motivational speaker and author of "A Test of Will: One Man's Extraordinary Story of Survival." There you see it's cover. All the books mentioned tonight are available on

What happened?

WARREN MACDONALD, TRAPPED UNDER BOULDER: What happened? I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could say. I had gone to an island off the north Queensland Coast back in Australia, gone to do a hike basically along the length of the island.

KING: By yourself?

MACDONALD: Yes, just some R&R. And at the end of the first day, I met a Dutch guy that had gone over the island on his own and he was going to climb to the top of Mount Bowen, the highest peak on the island.

I thought, you know what? I think I've got time to do that, let's do it, team up, we'll do the climb and I can still get back to the south end of the island and get off on the ferry.

We basically spent all day climbing up a creek bed. Pretty tough climb. There's no actual trail. And I got to the point where I hesitate to say we were lost. We were geographically embarrassed is the way I like to describe it. And set up camp for the night and I, being an outdoors kind of guy, needed to use the bathroom before going to bed and I wanted to get as far away from the creek as I could.

And I started climbing up a steep rock face. Five foot up and I heard a huge crack and then it was basically a piece of the wall broke out and landed in my lap.

KING: What did your friend do?

MACDONALD: He heard me yell out. And he was pretty quickly out of his sleeping bag. Ran across the creek with the flashlight everywhere and basically came across the scene of me under this rock. KING: Wasn't able to do anything?

MACDONALD: No, we tried for half of the night. We tried everything. It was in the bush, breaking out branches off trees, pulling out small trees. We basically broke ever lever we tried and figured that that rock wasn't going anywhere. They told us later it weighed a ton.

KING: So what happened?

MACDONALD: We decided that he would hike out and I got to tell you, I mean, I met the guy the day before I don't think I ever felt so lonely watching him walk away and I knew that it was -- everything in my life up until that point was now going to come in and ...

KING: Went to get help?


KING: How long were you alone?

MACDONALD: In total, 45 hours.

KING: How did they get the boulder off of you?

MACDONALD: Hydraulic jack, crow bars. It took the rescue crew two and a half hours, which in a way validated for me is always the feeling have we done everything? Have we tried everything? Is there something we've missed? And watching those guys struggle to lift it.

KING: They had to amputate your legs?

MACDONALD: They did. They got me straight to hospital and they explained my legs had been so badly damaged that they were going to have to amputate that night.

KING: How much pain were you in?

MACDONALD: Indescribable really. I mean, you wonder how much pain can somebody withstand before you actually just die from pain and that definitely was going through my mind.

KING: You never passed out?

MACDONALD: I didn't pass out until they lifted the rock off me.

KING: Really?


KING: Did you hallucinate?

MACDONALD: Oh, yes, yes. I had -- at one point I imagined that a group of businessmen had explained to me how to basically will myself out from under the rock and I tell you I was devastated when I found myself still there, couldn't believe it. KING: So what -- I guess you don't go hiking anymore?

MACDONALD: Well, that's not entirely true. It's interesting, people say the accident didn't slow me down, it actually sped me up. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro using prosthetic legs.

KING: Using artificial legs.

MACDONALD: Yes. I climbed El Capitan in Yosemite. My partner introduced me to ice climbing. It literally sped me up. I mean, I think I realized it was a big wake-up for me that life is pretty short and that we best make the best of it and that it's pretty much what I've been doing and trying to get others to do the same.

KING: Insects were preying on both legs?

MACDONALD: Yes, yes. The paramedic tell me the ants were having a bit of a picnic when he turned up. But I disturbed their nest, let's just say.

KING: What did you learn from all this?

MACDONALD: What did I learn? That we're infinitely more powerful than we think we are when you get pushed to that point. I think the biggest lesson I learned was how we create our own reality, how it always -- I think I always felt that to an extent, but after coming through this I came away knowing it that...

KING: Extraordinary story, extraordinary book, thank you.

MACDONALD: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Warren MacDonald, what a night. Les "Survivorman" Stroud is next, don't go away.


KING: We now welcome Les "Survivorman" Stroud, he's the host of "Survivorman" on the Science Channel. He was help for us tonight, we're going to help him get back. We don't have a lot of time, we're going to have you come back in this association of "I Shouldn't Be Alive."

In every episode of "Survivorman," Les is let loose in a remote, unpopulated location with not much more than some video camera equipment and forced to get by for one week on his own. Why do you do this?

LES STROUD, HOST OF SURVIVORMAN: Actually it was interesting in watching your previous guests and the stories they have to tell. I started to reflect on sort of where I come from that and I think, you know, one of the bane of being even a survival instructor is you never find yourself actually in a survival situation.

You practice, you learn, you train, you go in prepared and you never find yourself in a situation that your previous guests were in. It can't happen because you're too well trained for it and actually the show has been a wonderful opportunity to put myself to a bit of a test.

I mean, when you watch some of their stories, a lot of times, I'll watch it and I'll just think, "Do I have the wherewithal to do it? Would I be a crumbling, blubbering heap of mess crying or would I be able to make it through what those people made it through?"

KING: You don't know.

STROUD: I think everyone wants that. No, you watch those shows and you just wonder, could I do that?

KING: You have gone to a Costa Rican rain forest, Arctic ice flows, Georgian swamps, the high Sonora desert. Can't take a lot with you, right?

STROUD: Nothing. The premise is no food, no water, no survival equipment just my camera gear and the key of course is no camera crew. There's nobody there to hand me a submarine sandwich or help me through this. I have to be alone or the show doesn't have it.

KING: It's a shame we're out of time. We're going to have you back.

STROUD: Please.

KING: I want to do a lot more with you, as well as ...

STROUD: Be my pleasure.

KING: ... on the program "Survivorman" because you are extraordinary.

STROUD: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Les "Survivorman" Stroud, I'm sorry we ran out of time, but we did have a gang up of guests tonight and we really appreciate you coming.

STROUD: My pleasure.

KING: And we will make it up to you. And we'll check in now with Anderson Cooper. First let me tell you, tomorrow night, we'll focus on United Flight 93 that crashed on 9/11, 2001. The film opens tomorrow, we'll deal with that tomorrow night. Right now "A.C. 360" with Anderson Cooper in New York. Anderson.


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