Haggard and traumatized, a young man has told how he survived for more than three weeks in the snowy wilderness of Alaska after his remote cabin burned down when he mistakenly put cardboard in his stove.
Tyson Steele, who was rescued by helicopter on Thursday, said his cabin — located 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the nearest neighbour — was incinerated in mid-December, and his beloved dog Phil died in the blaze. Steele, 30, dug a snow cave and then built a makeshift shelter, staying warm with just a few sleeping bags and coats, and eating tins of food saved from the fire.
Helicopter footage released by Alaska State Troopers showed Steele waving for help, with SOS marked out in the deep snow, after a rescue effort was launched as he had not called his parents for three weeks.
“The mistake I made, I got hasty and I put a big piece of cardboard in the stove to start the fire,” Steele said. “It sent a spark out through the chimney which landed on the roof.”
He awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of melting plastic dripping and rushed outside in minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 26 degrees Celsius) temperatures to find his cabin ablaze. —APP