3. Raft Patching - "Unbroken" an unreal story of Louie Zamperini

  • 2014.12.23 Tuesday
  • 23:49

So, Zamperini and the two gentlemen survives the hunger, thirst and the ruthless Japanese bomber attack.

Then, what happens?

The three men sit together on the raft. Raft has bullet holes (later counted to be 48) while sharks whipping around it. They hit the sharks with oar to chase them away. 

The raft continues to sink and now part of it is completely submerged.

Quote; Air flowed into the chamber and seeped out through the bullet holes, but the men found that if they pumped very quickly, just enough air passed through the raft to lift it up in the water and keep it mostly inflated. The sharks kept coming, and the men kept beating them away. Unquote

Louie finds the patching kit.
Quote; Louie began patching, starting with the holes on the top of the raft. He lifted the perforated area clear of the water, wiped the water from the surface, and held it away from the waves, letting it dry in the sun. Then, with each perforation, he used the mirror edge to cut an X across the hole. The material consisted of two layers of canvas with rubber between. After cutting the X, he peeled back the canvas to reveal the rubber layer, used the mirror to scratch up the rubber, squeezed glue onto it, and stuck the patch on. Then he waited for the sun to dry the glue. Sometimes, a whitecap would drench the patch before it dried, and he’d have to begin again.  Unquote

Hour after hour, they rotate the duties, pushing through enormous fatigue - pumping the air, patching the raft and fighting the sharks.

Pumping goes on all night long, because otherwise the raft will sink.

The patching goes on in the morning and the rate of air loss lessens.

Once the patching on the "top" is finished. The next problem is the "bottom". Let's see how they do about it.

Quote;  All three men squeezed onto one side of the raft, balancing on one air tube. They opened up the valve and let the air out of the side they weren’t sitting on, lifted it clear of the water, turned it over so the bottom faced skyward, wiped it off, and held it up to dry. Then Louie began patching. When that half of the bottom was patched, they reinflated it, crawled onto the repaired side, deflated the other side, and repeated the process. Again, whitecaps repeatedly washed over the raft and spoiled the patches, and everything had to be redone. Unquote

This way, they patch all holes that they can reach. For those holes that they can't physically reach (the bottom center area), they have to live with them.
Quote; With the raft now reasonably inflated, the sharks stopped attacking. Unquote

So, again, these extremely hungry, thirsty and fatigued men do all of that without rest day and night - pumping, fighting sharks and mending the holes both top and bottom of the bathtub sized raft in tilted posture. And, they survive.

It looks "mission impossible" for me, but hey, Louie Zamperini was an Olympic athlete, so why not?

For those who have no idea what "patching the raft" is, take a look at this video (and enjoy the mellow background music).

Here is a tip for those who testify; 
  1. Refresh Your Memory
  2. Tell the Truth
  3. Do Not Exaggerate

Otherwise, you will lose credibility and everything you say will ring untrue..

So, dear readers, you are the judge.
  • Is this story true?
  • Is the whole story of "Unbroken" true?

To be continued.

P.S. Special thanks to 日本軍は本当に「残虐」だったのか 丸谷元人
Yes. This is a true story and is exactly what any survivor would do. Adapt and overcome whatever challenges are presented.
  • Matt
  • 2015/05/16 7:59 AM
Hey Mat, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's really a magnificent story!
  • CBJ
  • 2015/05/16 11:46 PM



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