Russell Phillips - whom his crew mates called "Phil" - was still alive when this story about Louie's life was produced. His perspective adds depth to what happened to the men while they were adrift in the Pacific.
On the 27th day, Phil, Mac and Louie heard a plane. Rejoicing, they thought it was a B-25, but ... it was a Japanese plane. Soon, the men were strafed and the life raft had many holes which needed patching.
Mac - the tail gunner - grew weaker and weaker. On his 33rd day as a castaway, Francis MacNamara died. On the 47th day, the two survivors (Phil and Zamp) reached the Marshall Islands, occupied by Japanese forces. Both men became prisoners of war.
Then Louie and Phil were transferred to Kwajalein ... also known as "Execution Island" because of events which occurred there. Both thought they were going to die.
Pete Zamperini - Louie's brother - also tells the story, from his point of view, in this video clip.
It was Pete who had encouraged his wild and misbehaving younger brother (once known as "The Terror of Torrance") to take up running as a sport. He thought if Louie became an athlete, it would help him to focus on positive things (thereby staying out of trouble).
NOTE: At the very end of this clip, there is an irreparable audio glitch.
Clip from 60 Minutes' documentary on Louis Zamperini. Copyright, 60 Minutes, all rights reserved. Video online, via YouTube; provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the production.