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Police rescue man trapped in freezing Alaskan wilderness for 20 days

Alaskan state troopers on Thursday (January 9) rescued a man who has spent at least 20 days trapped in the sub-zero wilderness after seeing his “S.O.S.” message written in the snow.

Video taken from a police aircraft and published on Friday (January 10) shows homesteader Tyson Steele waving to state troopers who had been looking for him, as well as a giant “S.O.S.” message carved in the snow next to his cabin in Susitna Valley, Alaska, United States.

In an official statement, Alaskan state police said they responded on Thursday to a request for a welfare check on Steele, who had not been able to make contact with the outside world for several weeks.

They located Steele, who had carved a giant “S.O.S.” in the snow, and were able to take him back to safety with them.

Steele, 30, had been living in a cabin in the valley since September 2019, but in mid-December his dwelling caught fire, destroying many of his supplies, killing his dog and leaving him unprotected in the freezing winter temperatures, according to an interview he gave to Alaskan police.

Steele told police that for the first two nights after the fire he slept in a nearby ice cave, before creating a makeshift shelter from the remains of his cabin, in which he stayed for the rest of his time in the wild, living off of the remnants of his supplies which had survived the fire.

According to Alaskan state troopers, the area in which Steele was camped is more than 20 miles (32 km) from the nearest settlement, and accessible only by air.

(Production: Ben Dadswell, Eleanor Whalley)

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