An elderly man who survived off snow and croissants for a week after a snowstorm trapped him in his car has been hailed as a miracle.
Helicopter search and rescue workers in California, USA, spotted missing man Jerry Alan Jouret waving from the window of his submerged car on 2nd March.
Jerry, 81, had last been heard from on 24th February before setting off in his Ford Escape from Big Pine bound for Gardnerville, Nevada, about 170 miles away.
He was rescued from Death Valley Road and taken to hospital before being discharged the same day after medics found him to be well.
A snap from the rescue site shows how the road and Jerry’s car were blanketed in thick snow.
It transpired that Jerry had survived nearly seven days incommunicado living off snow and some croissants he had brought with him for the journey.
His relieved brother, Joe Jouret, later told local media: “I just really believe it was a miracle.
Recalling the moment his “still pretty spry” brother was found, Joe said: “[The pilot] was about out of gas.
“But he looked down and he saw what looked like a rock as he looked down. He had another man with him in the helicopter…and as they looked down there, it was [my brother’s] car.
“He was almost buried in snow, but not quite. He took his hand out of the window and waved it.
“They came back and they hovered over his car about three feet…because they couldn’t go down to the road, because the snow was too high.
“So the other guy in the helicopter was harnessed up, he went out of the helicopter, went down and got [my brother] out of his vehicle, they climbed back into the helicopter and then they flew to Bishop Airport.
“He was smiling all the way back to the airport.
“He was happy to get out of that situation.”
In a statement obtained by Newsflash, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office said: “On Tuesday, February 28, Inyo County Search and Rescue (InyoSAR) received a callout for a missing person.
“The individual had last been heard from on the morning of Friday, February 24, before leaving Big Pine on his way to Gardnerville, with an intended route over Hwy 168 due to closures on Hwy 395 caused by a major winter storm.
“Over the following days, a series of winter storms continued to affect the region.
“InyoSAR responded immediately, assessed the situation and developed a plan to search an area along Hwy 168.
“Due to conditions at the time, resources were focused on preparing for a mission early the following morning.
“On Wednesday, March 1, a winter storm caused the team to delay the mission due to safety concerns for SAR personnel.
“A second attempt in the afternoon was also unsuccessful.
“However, on Thursday, March 2, with the support of Caltrans District 9, two teams of four SAR members each deployed to make their way to Deep Springs Valley for a focused search around the Gilbert Pass area.
“California Highway Patrol Inland Division Air Operations’ (CHP) H80 helicopter provided additional assistance with two aerial searches around the Gilbert Pass area.
“At around noon on Thursday, CHP forensics reported an identified cellular ping from approximately 4:00pm on Friday that was associated with the missing person.
“The location of that ping was triangulated to an area along Death Valley Road, a rough road running south of the 168 and leading into Death Valley National Park.
“The CHP H80 helicopter crew returned to Bishop Airport for refueling, and proceeded to Death Valley Road to conduct an aerial search.
“Within a short period of time, they identified a vehicle partially buried in snow.
“When the crew made their way closer for inspection, a window was lowered and a person began waving from inside the vehicle.
“The CHP H80 crew returned to Bishop Airport to prepare for extraction.
“Upon their return to the scene, the CHP crew loaded the person onboard and transported him directly to Bishop Airport for transport to medical care.
“The person was determined to be the subject of the search.
“The subject was discharged from the hospital later that evening.”