North Salt Lake man said faith helped him survive 4 days in wilderness
NORTH SALT LAKE – North Salt Lake resident David Hales said a promise he made to his father, late LDS apostle Robert D. Hales, helped him survive after getting his snowmobile stuck in Wasatch County for four nights.
“My dad died a couple months ago, and I’m supposed to be [my mother’s] caretaker,” Hales said. “It’s like if I’m gone, yeah, that was tough on her.”
Last Friday, what was supposed to be a 30-minute test drive on a snowmobile turned into four nights in the wilderness. He took a wrong turn, ended up in the Strawberry River drainage area of Wasatch County and got stuck when he ran out of gas. He was able to start a fire but not without issues.
“I woke up with my pants and my boot on fire. Just rolled into the snow to put it out,” he said. “Then I realized I had a giant hole in my boot and now that was going to fill full of water.”
Hales decided to abandon his snowmobile and starting walking in hopes of finding someone who could help.
“My heart rate was about 130 for four days to try to keep me warm. And each day I was more and more tired, I just couldn’t even stand,” he said. “I thought one more day of this and I’m not going to make it.”
The 60-year-old ate only snow for the five days and four nights, giving him little to no strength.
“I had eaten I don’t know how much snow. My mouth was so numb I chewed off the inside of my checks,” he said.
“When I finally saw that chopper, I just thought, ‘I can’t believe I made it’,” he said.
Hales is leaving the hospital with no major injuries and with a new perspective for what really matters and wants the rescuers to know how thankful he is
“I put my hands up and just thought, ‘I’m going to live thanks to them,” he said.
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