Could you survive?

From ABCNews:

“A 33-year-old hiker is in stable condition at a Salt Lake City hospital after he was trapped in a drainage tunnel in the foothills east of the city for four days and three nights.

Daniel Samuelsen said he fell into the tunnel, near the mouth of Parleys Canyon, and broke his leg during a hike on Wednesday morning.

When his cell phone died, he found a rock and banged it against the tunnel walls in hopes of attracting someone’s attention. But no one ever came although numerous hikers passed by above the tunnel.

“I thought I was going to die,” Samuelsen told ABC affiliate KTVX in Salt Lake City.

By Saturday afternoon, after four days without any food or water since the fall, it became clear that he needed to take action. Samuelsen decided to crawl out of the corrugated tunnel. He was able to find a piece of wood and make a split of sorts for his severely fractured leg. He eventually crawled to a nearby highway, where he was discovered by a motorist.”

We are all familiar with the Aron Ralston story and other instances of folks surviving in the wild — either lost or injured. (For a fantastic look at search and rescue, read this piece from Outside about an eight-year-old autistic nonverbal boy lost in a Virginia park.) What would it be like to be in that sort of situation?

Neither the story nor the video make any mention of whether Samuelson told anyone where he was going and when he should be expected back. Heading out into the woods we generally prepare with the 10 essentials (food, water, appropriate attire, etc.), but we don’t always let others know of our plans. The mythologizing around Ralston’s story has always bothered me for this reason: If he had told somewhere where he was headed and a return time, he probably would have been found much earlier — and with his arm.


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