We tend to toss around the word hero without much thought. We fixate on actors and athletes -- people who've somehow lassoed fame long enough to walk red carpets and lure flash photographers. But sometimes we neglect to consider those who truly demonstrate heroic qualities -- those who make crucial split-second decisions or plot carefully constructed plans to rescue people in danger, all while putting their own lives at risk.
In these five amazing rescue stories, you'll meet courageous people who braved death to save others. These champion lifesavers range from average citizens to high-profile political prisoners, and have rescued loners in distress and entire communities. You'll even meet some altruistic animals that masterminded rescues humans couldn't engineer. How did these rescuers brave everything from fire to ice to save lives?