A 76-year-old diabetic Colorado man was found alive on Tuesday March 27, after he survived 10 days in the remote Nevada desert by using survival skills he remembered from his Boy Scout days. Regrettably, his friend who had accompanied him on the trip wandered away from the vehicle to look for help, and did not survive, according to the AP.
If this outcome sounds familiar, that’s likely because last week we brought you a story of two friends in a shipwreck situation in the Gulf of Mexico that cost one of them his life. The two stories bears a weird similarity, made stranger by the fact that they occurred within a week of one another.
James Klemovich and Laszlo Szabo, 75, got their car stuck on a desolate back road in northwestern Nevada’s Pershing County. The area has no cell phone service, and is sparsely populated with fewer than 7,000 people spread over 6,000 square miles.
The men tried to free the car with no success, so they lit flares and started fires in an effort to attract help. Very resourcefully, the men used a towel to strain water from a ditch, and they also melted snow to drink. After four or five days, Szabo left to get help.
Klemovich’s wife, Joanne, began to worry when several days passed without word from her husband, whom she knew was in remote country looking for old mines. Klemovich’s health was also a point of concern, given that James has diabetes, wears a pacemaker and has had triple bypass heart surgery.
Joanne Klemovich said, “I figured maybe they’d had an accident and were stranded. I thought maybe they were in a mine shaft. All kinds of things were going through my head.”
“I thought it was bad news, but it was very good news,” she said of the phone call she received Tuesday night from authorities who said her husband had been found alive by military personnel training in the area.
Staying with the vehicle and staying hydrated were the two most important things Klemovich did to save himself. Mr. Szabo, however noble to go for rescue, passed away just a mile and a half from the car where Klemovich waited from his return. At the time of writing this, an autopsy result has not been released, but it would seem that exposure and dehydration would be the two most likely causes of death. Although the signaling efforts were not productive early in the ordeal, both men should have continued building fires, using burned plastics and oils from the car to make black smoke for greater visibility.
James Klemovich is still in Nevada, waiting for the car to be recovered before returning home. He was treated and released from a hospital.