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Deep-freeze driver 8 weeks in snow

2012-02-20 08:24

TOTALLY CHILLED: The driver of this car survived for two months in a sleeping bag after being caught in a Swedish snowstorm.

Thomas Borchert

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A Swedish man has been found alive inside a car that was hidden for two months in deep snow in sub-zero temperatures.

He survived on nothing but snow.

The man was stranded in the car on December 19, according to the Vasterbotten Courier newspaper, and spent the time in a sleeping bag in the car.

He was found off a remote forest road after passers-by on a snowmobiles raised the alarm. They had thought they'd found a car wreck but when the scraped away snow from the windows saw weak movement inside.


Temperatures in the north of Sweden have dropped to -30C in recent weeks. Police said the absence of any disturbance around the car made the survivor's account credible.

He is being treated in hospital where his condition was described as "well, under the circumstances."

In other reports, the police said the man was "nothing but skin and bone". His car was covered in snow by a storm in December and that particular road, a small road outside the city, had not been ploughed since then. The man had not been reported as missing.

The BBC reported the temperature in the area had recently dropped to -22F (-30C).

A  rescue team member told regional daily Vasterbottens-Kuriren, which broke the news: "It's just incredible that he's alive considering that he had no food, but also since it's been really cold since Christmas."

Ebbe Nyberg, duty officer at the Umea police, said police saw no reason to doubt that the man had been stuck in the car for a very long time. "We would not make something like this up. The rescue services were on site too and saw the same as us."


Doctors at the hospital said humans would normally be able to survive for about four weeks without food. Besides eating snow, the man probably survived by going into a dormant-like state, physician Stefan Branth told Vasterbottens-Kuriren.

"A bit like a bear that hibernates. Humans can do that," he said. "He probably had a body temperature of around 31 degrees (Celsius) which the body adjusted to. Due to the low temperature, not much energy was used up."

None of the sources, however, explained why the man did not suffocate...

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