Man survived for two months in oversnowed car

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Husky

Nomad
Oct 22, 2008
335
0
Sweden, Småland
The swedish news have just released an incredible survival story.
A couple of skidooers found what they thought was a wrecked car under the snow. When they started digging to check they saw movement in the back seat and called the authorities.
A man had been driving on a forest road and come to a dead end and was stuck, he claims in december. The road is not cleared during winter and it has been lower then -30 C. He has had no food but eaten snow. He could hardly speak and was very undernourished.
It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.
 

dwardo

Maker
Aug 30, 2006
6,315
326
44
Nr Chester
Will certainly be interesting to hear the full story but can help thinking he must confused in regards to time. Very long time to keep his internal body heater going for that long with no food to power it, in normal conditions never mind the -30...
Poor chap either way must have been hellish.
 

Totumpole

Native
Jan 16, 2011
1,066
9
Cairns, Australia
I suppose once his car was burried it would have created a nice insulated snow hole, so the temperature would not have been that bad for him. SOunds like hellish ordeal anyway.
 

Bucephalas

Full Member
Jan 19, 2012
1,058
0
Chepstow, Wales
That sounds interesting.
The longest anyone has survived without food is about 74 days (hunger strike) but most will expire in around 40-50 days.
Eating snow offers no sustenance.
Unless we find that there were originally 3 passengers! Now that's a story!
 
On a woodsmoke course last year we had Stuart (member on here) with us and he was explaining about how long you can go without food and it was found that the average was somewhere around the 64 days mark before people died. You can go up to 20-30 days I think without it and retain the majority of your muscle mass whilst exerting little after that your fat reserves will have gone and then it will be onto the energy stored in the muscle.

The other thing that was mentioned is that it is about the same amount of energy to eat snow as it is to heat it next to your chest to melt it. Basically the Canadian survival manual where it says it is bad to eat snow had calculated it in the wrong units. Calories (Cal) as opposed to calories (cal)

This is what I heard, hopefully if Stuart is still around he may be able to correct me as I think I may have the numbers slightly wrong but I am sure this is what he was saying.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,867
1,082
65
Florida
It does seem on the edge of possible to live that long without food; not especially probable, but possible. But what really interests me is, how did he breathe for two months buried under snow?
 

Husky

Nomad
Oct 22, 2008
335
0
Sweden, Småland
There is a question about how long he was actually gone. I guess we will have an answer shortly.
As for being burried, have a look at the pic. a couple of posts up.
He also is said to have had a sleepingbag and good clothing.
 

Bucephalas

Full Member
Jan 19, 2012
1,058
0
Chepstow, Wales
On a woodsmoke course last year we had Stuart (member on here) with us and he was explaining about how long you can go without food and it was found that the average was somewhere around the 64 days mark before people died. You can go up to 20-30 days I think without it and retain the majority of your muscle mass whilst exerting little after that your fat reserves will have gone and then it will be onto the energy stored in the muscle.

The other thing that was mentioned is that it is about the same amount of energy to eat snow as it is to heat it next to your chest to melt it. Basically the Canadian survival manual where it says it is bad to eat snow had calculated it in the wrong units. Calories (Cal) as opposed to calories (cal)

This is what I heard, hopefully if Stuart is still around he may be able to correct me as I think I may have the numbers slightly wrong but I am sure this is what he was saying.

http://www.survival-goods.com/v/9_Longest_Records_for_Surviving_without_Food/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger_strike

It would depend on the fat/muscle stores of a person. The more muscle/fat held, the longer you live.
 

Totumpole

Native
Jan 16, 2011
1,066
9
Cairns, Australia
Judging by how "snowed in" his car was and his lack of any attempt with "good cloting and a sleeping bag", to make it out, he was a fat lazy b£$%ard who had pleny of fat stores to live off!!! Ive seen mor esnow ona car in Tomintoul, mind you, it was probably only there for a week!
 

forestwalker

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
The story is getting a bit clearer (at least in the news, truth...?) He had financial difficulties and went away. The road had not been plowed since December 19, so the car had been there that long (probably). The doctors should be able to tell if the story (2 months) is likely based on his state.

Why he did not leave? Based on the stories in the papers it appears that he was depressed. People give up when depressed, feel that "why bother?" and just sit there. And as he got weaker and weaker the depression probably got worse. Sure, if he had done the rational thing he would not have been there in the first place, would have spent an hour walking out to the nearby major road (1500 m) and a couple of hours trying to get picked up.

My wild speculation scenario: he was a bit depressed, had went north just to get away, no plan and anything, just away. Late night, snow falling, decided to go into a side-road to sleep in the car (remember, he had a sleeping bag). Woke up, found that he was snowed in. Depression meant that he was inclined towards inaction, so he probably waited for the road to be cleared. He got weaker, more depressed, the snow got deeper, etc.

With the skills and experience many here see the whole situation as "stupid" or "lazy", but in the context it is perfectly "logical". Lessons to learn?

1. Have warm clothes/blankets/sleeping bag in the car.
2. Don't go off on small, unknown dirt roads when the snow is comming down: you may not be able to get away, and the road may not be cleared until someone has a reason to go there, or not at all.
3. Mental attitude is vital. If your outlook is "can do, will do what it takes to survive" then you are almost certain to survive. If you are depressed, give up easilly, etc then your chances of survival are much poorer.
 

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