Missing Teen Survives in Snow Cave

Canadian snowmobiler 'did everything right after things went wrong'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2021 6:11 AM CST
Missing Teen Survives in Snow Cave
The teen's snow cave.   (South Cariboo Search & Rescue)

A missing 17-year-old snowmobiler was found in "good condition" Saturday in Canada after building himself a snow cave and hunkering down. The snowmobiler, identified as Robert, had been traveling with his father and brother on British Columbia's Mica Mountain when he diverted into an area with steep terrain and was unable to get back out again, according to the South Cariboo Search and Rescue. His companions, who'd briefly stopped when the brother's snowmobile became stuck, only realized he was missing when they continued on to their destination and saw that he wasn't there, per CTV News and CNN. Luckily, Robert didn't panic. "After multiple failed attempts to get back out of the area ... and not knowing the terrain and area, he parked his sled in a wide open area, walked over to a nearby treed area and built himself an incredible snow cave to spend the night," rescuers said.

It's a winter survival tactic to protect against the elements. While there's a risk of collapse if not constructed properly, "it gets you out of the wind, and it's got some insulating qualities to it," a rescuer tells CTV. Robert, who has no formal survival training, says he built the shelter in about an hour. "He was nestled in the snow cave all comfortable and warm with food and water" when rescuers arrived just before 11pm Saturday, about five hours after Robert had gone missing, a rescue rep adds, per the Vancouver Sun. Robert notes "it would have been a rough night," per CTV. Rescuers helped the teen out of the area by a different route than he'd come in, per the Sun. "This young man made our task a little less difficult by staying in place and having some backcountry winter survival knowledge," they said. He "did everything right after things went wrong." (More survival stories.)

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