This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
Extremes is a show about people who’ve lived through extraordinary situations. These are big stories with enormous stakes. There’s no pattern to the stories our guests tell: some are funny, others are sad. Some situations were accidents, others were created deliberately—but all provide a window into human behavior when all bets are off.
Here are some of the episodes we’ve covered so far:
David was a 17-year-old volunteer firefighter who was caught lighting fires along Australia’s southern coast. In this episode, we ask David what drove him to such reckless behavior.
Ben McMahon learned Chinese in a Melbourne high school, but, like a lot of people who learn languages at high school, he accomplished only the basics. But years later, after being comatose from a car accident, Ben woke up inexplicably speaking Chinese.
Peter Bland is an Australian businessman who was almost the first person to cross the Antarctic Peninsula unsupported. But on the home stretch, he was hit by an avalanche and washed down a crevasse. We talk to Peter about ego: The things it can propel us to achieve, and the pain it puts us through.
In 2003, John Rusnak became briefly famous for pulling one of the biggest cases of bank fraud in U.S. history. We talk to John about how he got himself into so much trouble, why he turned himself in, and whether it was worth the prison time.
In 1964 Reg Spiers was in London, trying to make the Olympic javelin team. When he didn’t make the cut, he found himself stranded with not enough funds to get home to Australia. But rather than trying to save money, Reg decided to send himself back via international mail, inside a box.
Annette Herfkens was 31 when she and her fiancé boarded a Vietnam Airlines flight in November 1992. It was supposed to be a romantic trip; a surprise getaway organized by her fiancé who was working as a banker in Ho Chi Minh City. But instead of reaching the resort town of Nha Trang as planned, the plane hit severe turbulence, clipped a mountain, and disintegrated into the jungle.
Thirty people lost their lives in the crash, including her fiancé, and when Annette came to, she found herself alone in the ruined fuselage, surrounded by luggage and bodies. And there she stayed, for a total of eight days, waiting to be rescued.
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