81-Year-old Survives Nearly a Week Stuck in Snowbank With Only Croissants and Candy

​Inyo County Sheriff’s Office – Facebook

An 81-year-old man survived on croissants, candy, and biscotti after a snowstorm left him stranded on a desolate California highway alone for nearly a week.

Jerry Jouret’s family eventually called the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office to report a missing person after the mathematician and former NASA employee never made it to his destination of Gardnerville, 3 hours away from his mountain house in Big Pine.

Apparently, he had set off in good weather. There was a snowstorm in the forecast, but Jouret thought he could arrive safely before the winter weather began.

Over the following days, a series of winter storms continued to affect the region, which delayed the county’s Search and Rescue team from launching a search along Hwy 168 for a day.

On March 1, five days after Mr. Jouret set out, two attempts to find him were unsuccessful. However, on March 2, with support from California Highway Patrol helicopters, they identified a cellular ping from his phone somewhere in the Gilbert Pass area.

CNN reports that the petite man was ill-prepared for the weather, wearing only a light windbreaker. “A light quilt and a hotel bath towel were the only things Jouret had to keep himself warm.”

He smartly conserved his car battery and gas for several days—only starting the SUV’s engine periodically to warm up.

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He rolled down his window occasionally to eat snow—but that survival technique to keep himself hydrated backfired on the third day when the battery died while rolling up the window. That’s probably when he wished modern cars also featured non-electric manual crank windows in case of emergency, because it then remained open a few inches for the remainder of his ordeal.

Amid the search, one of the helicopter pilots “spotted something he initially thought was a large rock,” reported CNN. “A closer look revealed a vehicle—and the pilot spotted an arm waving out of the small opening in the car window.”

Miraculously, the senior was discharged from the hospital later that evening, suffering only from dehydration.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office shared the story on Facebook saying, “The success of this mission was the result of the many volunteers who commit their personal time to serve as members of Inyo County Search and Rescue, Sheriff’s Office, CHP Air Operations, Caltrans District 9, as well as many members of the community – both near and far – who offered planning, logistical, and moral support.”

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Officials took the opportunity to remind everyone to always be prepared for unexpected events and have a safety plan in place when traveling through the mountains. (Check out the 7 things you should always keep in your car.)

“If it is snowing, make sure you are prepared…and bring extra supplies with you.”

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