SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A 77-year-old man survived three nights and four days in the rugged Utah wilderness by drinking water from streams and sleeping next to brush to stay warm in temperatures that dipped into the 30s, authorities said Monday.
Christian Herrera was found Sunday afternoon in the Uinta Mountains, 75 miles east of Salt Lake City. He was dehydrated and had minor injuries, but was in pretty good shape considering the circumstances, Summit County sheriff’s deputy Ashley Fugal said.
“He used the resources available to him and his knowledge and willpower to survive,” Fugal said.
Herrera, a doctor from Provo, went missing Thursday afternoon while camping, she said.
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He and another man set off from camp on horseback toward a nearby spot known as King’s Peak, Fugal said. At some point, Herrera got off his horse to hike up to take pictures.
After that, his camping companions couldn’t find him, and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office launched a search late Thursday.
Temperatures were in the low 40s and high 30s over the three nights he was out, National Weather Service meteorologist Lisa Venzella said. Herrera was fortunate that there was no rain, and that he was found before an incoming storm that was bringing colder weather Monday, she said.
Fields of boulders and dense groupings of trees made the search difficult for crews on foot and in the air. But a team aboard a helicopter found Herrera at about 11,000 feet elevation.
Herrera’s family was elated that he was found alive, Fugal said, but they are declining interview requests.
This story has been corrected to show Herrera spent three nights and four days in the wilderness, not three days and four nights.