What would you do…. (Lost)


You are on a ship. A fire on board has destroyed the radio. From the rate the water is rising inside the ship you estimate that it will sink within two hours. You did not tell the authorities of your destination. It will take about 45 minutes to launch the only lifeboat which can only hold 4 people. You can’t jump as the water is shark infested. The nearest land is an uninhabited tropical island 30 km away.

Your task is to decide which people will enter the boat. Everyone has agreed to abide by your decision. Items held by individuals must stay with the owner; they cannot be transferred to other people.

Captain: age 57. Married three times; five children aged between 5 and 27. His youngest child has Down’s syndrome. Drinks and smokes heavily. Plays the accordion and carries a bottle of rum.

Cook: a former Special Forces officer reduced to working as a cook after being court-martialled following an unfortunate incident involving a torpedo and a presidential yacht. Carries a knife.

Anglican priest: a Philosophy graduate who taught English as a foreign language in South America for several years before returning to her home town to look after her disabled mother (now aged 85) with whom she still lives. Trained as a counsellor and was ordained in 1990. Carries a first aid kit.

Ship’s engineer’s wife: Aged 35 and about to begin maternity leave from her work as a medical sales representative. Due to give birth to their first child in 4 months time. For some reason known only to herself she happens to be carrying a fishing line and hook.

Travel agency owner: Has worked in the travel industry for 40 years and has been to every corner of the globe.  She talks a lot and has a family of 4 waiting for her back in Russia.   She is wearing very expensive jewelry and boasts about all of her vacation homes and luxurious items that she owns.

French Botany student: Lived in the Brazilian rainforest for eighteen months while carrying out Ph.D. research into plants that can be used in anti-cancer drugs: these are now undergoing testing by a major multinational pharmaceutical company. Voted for Le Pen in the last election. Has a rifle.

Photographer: Has traveled all over the world shooting for magazine advertisements.  In his bag he has a camera, a telescope and a tool kit.


Which 4 are going on the boat?  Why did you choose these people?  Comment below…



This article was originally published by the British Council on 20 January 2014. You can view the original post on their website or visit me at The Teacher Abroad.