Two years ago, a plane crash left 50 people stranded on an uncharted island. They gave up hope of being rescued two months after the crash. What happens when a Navy Carrier passes the island and sees people on the beach? Will the stranded finally be rescued? Will they even want to leave the island they have come to know as home?
I had been asked by some friends if I wanted to fly to Ireland with them. Of course I said yes. We survived the trip to Ireland and stayed about ten days. We packed all of our non-essential belongings in our suit cases and headed for the airport. I had called my family and told them that I was on my way home and would be home sometime the next day.
We checked our carry-on bags in, went through security and then proceeded to board our plane. My bag contained some TV shows on DVD I had bought while in Ireland, my laptop, my camera plus battery charger, my cell phone and charger, and dozens of pens and notebooks (my way of keeping track of things if the battery on my laptop died. My friends and I found our seats and settled in. There were six of us total and we had seats in front and back of each other. We watched as people got on. Families from Ireland headed to the states on vacation, people returning to the states after vacation and/or business. By the time the plane was ready to take off; an estimated 100 people were on board.
Takeoff was a little bumpy, but what flight isn't. Everyone settled in for the long flight back to the states. One by one, people (including me and my friends) fell asleep. About halfway through the flight, the captain came over the intercom saying that the plane was about to hit some rough weather but that everything was under control. But everything wasn't under control. The turbulence got so bad that everyone was scrambling to keep themselves buckled. When the oxygen masks fell out, people grabbed for them. People started to scream, kids yelling for parents a few seats away. It was chaotic and then nothing. It was as if we were falling, with no way of stopping.
Impact with the island came unexpectedly. There wasn't supposed to be an island all the way out here. But we were just glad that we had survived the crash, though not all made it. When the plane finally stopped moving, everything was calm. Nobody knew what to do. One of the flight attendants got up from where she had been sitting and went to check on the pilots. Another made sure all the passengers were okay.
We stayed in the plane that night, not wanting to venture out into the darkness that surrounded us. When morning came, we found out that both pilots were dead, as were about 50 others which left just fifty people who survived the crash. Luckily, none of the kids had been killed. It was a miracle that any of us survived at all. The first thing to do was get out of the plane. The younger kids were told to stay put as us older kids headed out the plain's main loading door. I had my backpack with me and as soon as I was out of the plane, I pulled my camera out and hung it around my neck, zipping my bag up after securing everything inside. Ten of us in all headed out; looking for a place we might be able to make a shelter.
Splitting into teams of two, we moved outwards, away from the plane, marking our way as we went with different colored permanent markers, something that had been in one of the pockets of my bag. We made sure to write numbers so we didn't go in circles trying to get back. With five teams of two, we took a list of what we were to look for and headed out. I was with my friend Jenna, tasked with finding food and water; we were team 1. Team 2 was tasked with finding a suitable place to bury the dead. Team 3 was tasked with a place to make a shelter. Team 4 was tasked with finding a place to build a latrine. And team 5 was tasked with finding a place to build a signal fire, where we could keep watch for any passing ships or planes.
Jenna and I headed in a totally different direction than the other teams. We knew that if we were going to find any food and water, we needed to head inland as far as possible. We marked a tree every 15ft. and then continued. It also helped that I was taking pictures from one marker to the next. We could backtrack using not only the marked trees but also the pictures. Jenna had grabbed one of the notebooks and was writing the description of the pictures between the marked trees so that when we looked at the photos, we would know which ones to follow back to the plane.
At the sound of water, we sped up as best we could and headed in the direction we heard the water. We came out of the forest upon a small lagoon in which we immediately stopped. The lagoon had a waterfall and a small area of water. Surround the water; we would be able to build our shelter. We found a way to get to the top of the waterfall using a small stepping path that we'd found and climbed. Once on top of the waterfall, we saw just how amazing that place was.
Fruit trees surrounded the top of the waterfall and the most amazing of all; it looked like someone else had once lived on the island, though it would have been long ago. There were crumbling earth huts just beyond the fruit trees. Inside the huts, we found tools to garden and hunt with. We also found bowls and cups, what looked like spoons, old baskets that could be repaired and some animals hides that looked like they had been used as blankets. We found a small graveyard behind the huts and paid our respects before asking if we would be able to us what they had left behind to survive. We really didn't expect an answer, but left a poem in one of the pots. I had written it on a whim and had copied it just so I would always have it. Moving back to the huts, we gathered everything we would need in the baskets, putting a blanket in each so nothing could fall out the holes in the sides and bottom. I took a picture of the small farm before we turned and headed back to the plane. With any luck, we would be able to make shelter around the lagoon and be out of the plane soon.
By the time we got back to the plane, the dead from the plane had been moved to a suitable burial site. The others were doing their best to dig but it wasn't really working. We set our belongings and things we had found on the ground and grabbed a few of the shovels we had found and went to help. By mid-afternoon, we had a six foot deep, ten foot wide grave. There was no time to individually dig fifty holes so we had to settle on one big grave. Using my camera, I took a picture of every person that had died, Jenna wrote their names, age and occupation in the notebook as well as where they were from. We would put all the pictures and descriptions on my laptop later. Once the dead were in the grave, we filled the grave back up with dirt and put once cross at the head of the grave. The personal effects of those that had died were put in one of the pots we had found that had a lid. We put the pot next to the cross and then everyone headed back to the plane. We would begin building shelter in the morning, using whatever we needed from the plane. Right now, we needed to rest and sort through what we had.
Two flight attendants had survived the crash, one doctor, a construction worker, two fishermen, a botanist, two scientists, and the rest were tourists and kids. It was amazing to see people who didn't know each other one day suddenly being friendly to those around them. If we were going to survive for however long we were on the island, we all needed to get along, no matter what. The flight attendant's had been able to get into the luggage compartment and with the help of the others that hadn't gone out exploring, had pulled the bags into the main part of the plane. Now as everyone claimed their bags, we knew that it was only a matter of time before we got rescued. I booted up my laptop and downloaded all the pictures I had taken that day into two separate folders. The first I labeled 'Directions to Lagoon'. The second folder I labeled 'Deceased and Descriptions'. I moved the pictures to their respective folders and typed up the descriptions everyone had written.
I made new folders. I labeled the main folder 'Island Crash' and put the sub-folders inside that one. The sub-folders were as follows: The Lagoon, The Deceased, The Fire, The Latrine, The Beach, The Plane, The Garden, and finally (just in case we weren't rescued and had to build better shelter) The Tree Houses. It was easy to see those that survived in tree houses. If anything, we would be able to use bits and pieces of the plane in our shelters and use the seats for furniture. The flight attendants did their best to heat up some food and handed it around. We would have to ration our food after this until we could harvest the fruit from the trees and get some fish in our stomachs. But shelter was the first thing on everyone's mind. After everyone ate, I powered down my laptop and then everyone got comfortable for the night and one by one people started to fall asleep. We still had lots of work to do if we were going to survive this ordeal.
Grabbing only what we needed from the plane and any tools that we could find, a small group of us headed out back towards the lagoon. The construction worker was coming with to see how we could build our shelter. Earthen huts were out of the question because we would need to be off the ground so no bugs or animals could get in. Using one of the notebooks I had with me, he sketched out the shelter and where each hut would go, then the work began. We used the axe from the plane to cut the trees down and pulled the logs along to the designated area we would use to build our shelters.
Deon, the construction worker, began cutting the logs into smaller pieces but without a proper saw, we were only able to cut them to half their sizes and then used the axe to split them in half. We would use the smooth edges as the floors of the huts. It was amazing how fast the shelters went up. By the end of the day, we had twenty-five huts side to side surrounding the lagoon. We left the huts and went back to the plane. There were still things we needed from the plane to make the huts livable but at least we would have shelter.
The next morning, instead of only a small group heading for the lagoon, everyone headed out, carrying seats, parts of the carpet that had been pulled up and anything else that could be used as furniture. Once at the lagoon, we started filling each hut. With the help of Tegan and Natalia, the flight attendants, we pushed the seats into a flat position for beds before moving them into the huts. We had spread out the carpet on the ground in front of each hut as sort of an entry mat to wipe our feet off before getting into the huts. Leaves had been put on the floors of the huts so we weren't getting splinters from the wood. Once everything was in the huts, we all went back to the plane to gather our belongings and then headed back to the lagoon. Most of us had, in some form or another, packed blankets that we had either bough or owned. We picked out huts and put our belongings in them. With twenty-five huts, we only had to pair up to fill them all, which meant two people per hut. Jenna and I shared a hut while two of our friends that survived the crash shared the one next to us and so on.
By midday, we were starting to build a place where we could sit and eat food without being rained on. It was facing the lagoon and had a door on the backside facing the huts. It was, in all retrospect, a hut of and in itself, but it was where we could store the food and boil the water, as well as sit and eat. Deon had already built a table which was sitting next to the materials as he was using it as a workbench.
The food hut was about ten feet long and six feet wide with three sides and a partial fourth side. We used some of the seats from the plain for chairs and set them inside. The table was cleared off and moved inside as well. As soon as the table was put inside the food hut, the carts that held the food from the plane were moved inside and set in a line. We would use the tops as a counter and the drawers to hold any food and utensils we made or had. Once everyone was sure that the lagoon was safe to stay at, we started settling in.
Jenna, Haylee, Christophe and I headed for the top of the waterfall with empty bags and went to the fruit trees. Two of us climbed the trees and picked the fruit as the other two stayed on the ground and caught the food we dropped to them and put it into the bags. Jenna was in a coconut tree with me under her and Christophe was in a papaya tree with Haylee under him. We picked only enough to fill those two bags before we moved to the apple, orange and banana trees. There was also a coffee bush. Jenna started picking the apple tree, Haylee the orange tree, Christophe the banana tree and I started in on the coffee bush. Only bush that was missing was a tea bush.
As we worked, we started talking about what might be happening at home now that the plane was missing. We had been on the island for only three days, but we were already surviving against most odds. Haylee figured they had probably sent search and rescue parties out to look for the plane. Right after the pilots had told the passengers everything was going to be alright (even though it wasn't); they had made a mayday call. Whether the mayday call got through or not was a mystery to most. Christophe figured that everyone's loved ones were told what had happened. Jenna and I didn't know how long we were going to have to stay on the island, but Jenna said it was good that we had a way to survive.
I pitched my thoughts of tree houses to my friends ahd they thought that it was a wonderful idea. Tree houses would get them off the ground and into the canopy, which in itself would provide protection. They all pitched ideas to use whatever we could from the plane and I was thinking the same thing. Though most of the people had asked to have a notebook, I was now down to two so I had to cut them off. One was going to be for my journal while the other would document the progress we had made as well as a list of all the survivors. We had the manifest so I just went off the list of people we hadn't scratched out after we buried them. We were definitely surviving, that was for sure. We had planned to make a list of chores, tear the paper into pieces with each chore on a piece, put them in a bowl and reach into it that way, dividing the chores up fairly.
With so many daily chores to do, there was barely any time for fun or downtime. There wasn't much need for it though. After working all day, we mostly wanted to crawl into bed and fall asleep. But everyone kept the best attitude. In the three days we had been on the island, we would take turns standing next to the signal fire. We would take shifts of four hours each. We would take a younger kid with us as well. Of course, since we couldn't live solely off of fruit and the rations from the plane, Rick and James, the two fishermen, began going to the ocean and fishing. Using spears and nets that they had been able to make, they started bringing fish back from their trips to the ocean.
The kids were what kept us going, kept us from totally and completely giving up. Most of their parents had been killed in the crash, so we had taken on the job of raising them. None of them seemed to mind. We had all grown attached, which would be expected after what we'd all gone through. We knew that the possibility of being found was slim since it didn't look like the island had ever been charted. The old earthen huts could have been thousands of years old. The island could've been attached to a continent at one time and then broken off for some reason or another.
Not only did we collect fruit and fish, we started making hunting weapons and repairing the weapons we found in the earthen huts on the fourth day. We made more spears, pulling pieces of metal from the plane as well as wires to tie the metal to the sticks. We made bows and arrows, traps to catch small animals, skinning knives with pieces of metal and regular knives with metal. We raided the plane's galley for any cutlery that we could find (plastic knives, forks, spoons), as well as any cooking materials (pots & pans), dishes (cups, plates, bowls, tupewear, & water bottles).
We also pulled out any and all wiring we could get to. Before stripping the cockpit for anything useful, we made sure to grab the black box and put it with my laptop and camera so that it would always be safe and if and when we got rescued, the NTSB could figure out why we had crashed in the first place. We grabbed the radios and the consoles, keeping them intact just in case we could somehow send out a message that way. Then we stripped the cockpit of useful items and wiring. We left all the glass windows in the plane for now. By the time we were done in the plane, all that was left was a shell. Granted it still had a floor, but everything that could be used had been taken out and put into a pile to be taken back to camp.
Chapt.2: The Survivors:
Jestine Abrahms: 18, main character, narrator
Jenna Wizoski: 18, Jestine's friend, father is a survivalist.
Haylee Jefferson: 18, Jestine's friend, mother is a chef.
Christophe Jackson: 18, Jestine's friend, Haylee's boyfriend; likes to cook.
Deon Carter: 20, construction worker.
Rick O'Neil: 22, fisherman.
James O'Brien: 23, fisherman.
Tegan Howser: 38, flight attendant.
Natalia Jensen: 26, flight attendant.
Corrine Jacobson: 14, one of the kids; likes to dance.
Laura Monroe: 10, sister of Travis, parents' dead.
Travis Monroe: 8, brother of Laura, parents' dead.
Jacob Peterson: 6, one of the kids. Attached to Jestine.
Erica O'Connor: 28, a botanist (knows about plants [their properties and good for]), mother of Jericho.
Jericho O'Connor: 14, Erica's daughter, good with herbs.
Jason O'Mara: 33, the doctor of the survivors.
Jack Lamson: 29, one of the scientists, studies plant genealogy.
Jordan Lamson: 28, Jack's wife, studies plant genealogy.
Leilani Lamson: 12, Jack and Jordan's daughter, knows about plants.
Coraline Little: 13, one of the kids, second plane crash to survive.
Edward Lightfeather: 43, Lakota Indian; helps out with food, plants and hunting.
Charlie Kent: 38, weapons and trap builder.
Anna Chefchenko: 19, weaves baskets (before and after crash).
Donald Craft: 41, expert wood carver.
Nadia Lauritson: a
Mareka Abdina: a
Aaron Henderson: a
Claire Saunders: a
Ashley Mokolo: a
Robert O'Glauchlin: a
Abeni Olson: a
Lauren Ketating: a
Marena Bakula: a
Vanessa Jones: a
River Jetsen: a
Scott Rivers: a
JodyLynn Rivers: a
Chapt.3: Two Months Later:
The Tree Houses:
They had given up hope that they would be rescued. It had already been two months since the crash. They had built the tree houses a little closer to where they had planted the garden. To get from one house to the other without going to ground, they had built rope bridges as well as plank bridges. Their weapons and tool making had grown exceptionally. They now had a saw (big enough to cut wood), four homemade hammers, multiple bows and arrows, multiple spears, fishing nets and traps, fishing poles, knives to skin animals with as well as eat with. They had made many more plates, bowls and cups using wood and hot stones to shape the wood. Their plates were just flat pieces of leaves over wood so no splinters could get into the food.
They had hollowed out some pieces of large bamboo found near the garden and made holding containers for the liquid they consumed. Tea leaves had been found, further back in the orchard. And on a search of the jungle where the garden had been planted, a cocoa bean tree, some wheat bushes, wild onions, wild potatoes, wild cane sugar, some wild yams, some wild pineapples and some wild corn. Whoever had lived on the island before had made sure the food would survive after they were gone. The garden had been cleared of all the weeds and all the food had been picked, put into baskets and taken back to the tree houses. Weeds and wild flowers had been removed by a 20x20 grid so that food and seeds could be planted