Man, 76, survives 10 days on snow
He coped using Boy Scout skills, but friend who left to get help dies. -TNP
UNITED STATES - A 76-year-old diabetic Colorado man survived for 10 days in the remote Nevada desert by melting snow and using skills he learnt as a Boy Scout.
But a friend who was with him and who went off to get help died.
Mr James Klemovich and Mr Laszlo Szabo, 75, went to scope out some mines on March 18 when their car became stuck on a lonely road with no mobile phone service, Mr Klemovich's wife Joanne said.
The men tried to dislodge the car, and then lit flares and started fires, hoping that somebody would see them in northwestern Nevada's Pershing County, an area where fewer than 7,000 people are spread over 15,540 sq km.
They used a towel in the car to strain ditch water and snow into water bottles, but after four or five days, Mr Szabo left to get help. He didn't return.
Mrs Klemovich began to worry when several days passed without a phone call from her husband.
The Sheriff's Office searched for Mr Klemovich around the town of Winnemucca for days, but was unable to locate him or his silver 1995 Lincoln Town Car.
Said Mrs Klemovich: "I figured maybe they'd had an accident and they were standed. I thought maybe they were in a mine shaft.
"All kinds of things were going through my head."
Mrs Klemovich said she was expecting the worst when the authorities called on Tuesday night to say her husband had been found by military personnel who were holding training exercises in the area.
"I thought it was bad news, but it was very good news," she told AP by telephone from their home in Littleton, Colorado.
Mr Klemovich has diabetes, wears a pacemaker and had a triple bypass heart surgery, his wife said.
He told her he wasn't panicking while he sat for days waiting for Mr Szabo's return, she said.
He kept a journal, noting how much water he drank and what he did each day.
And he wrote a letter each day for her.
Drinking regularly was probably the biggest factor in his survival, despite the diabetes that could have sent his blood sugar dangerously out of control, said Ms Rita Kalyani, who teaches endocrinology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
During a fast, she said, the body can draw glucose from the liver or from fat stores to keep levels from dropping too low.
But having enough water is essential to flush out excess glucose and prevent levels from rising too high.
When military personnel found MrKlemovich, they gave him a banana, two oranges and three boiled eggs, he told his wife.
Mr Szabo was found dead about 2.5km from the car.
Mrs Klemovich said her husband has not been talking much about his friend and that she doesn't know whether Mr Szabo has any close relatives.
She told AP: "When I first talked to him, Icould tell he'd been through an ordeal. When he called back, he sounded pretty good."
Mr Klemovich is in Nevada, waiting for the car to be recovered before returning home. He was treated and released from ahospital.
The first words Mrs Klemovich said to her husband of 48 years when she saw him on Wednesday were: "Happy belated anniversary."
This article was first published in The New Paper.
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