Alaska State Troopers rescued a man who was trapped in sub-zero temperatures for 23 days after his remote cabin burned down in mid-December leaving him little food and no means of communication.
Tyson Steele, 30, survived for nearly a month by constructing a make-shift shelter, eating partially charred canned goods, and stamping an "S.O.S." distress signal in the snow at his remote homestead roughly 70 miles northwest of Anchorage.
The moment when a helicopter rescue team located Steele was captured on video and posted on the Alaska State Troopers official Facebook page.
The rescue team was responding to a welfare check on Steele after family and friends reported that they had not heard from him in weeks. He had been living at the remote homestead since September.
What's the background?
After his cabin burned down, killing his beloved dog, Phil, and destroying most of his home goods, Steele was forced to hunker down and wait for rescue, an Alaska Department of Public Safety report on the incident notes.
Miles of rugged wilderness, including forests, hills, rivers, and lakes, stood between his homestead and the nearest road system, and his closest neighbors were 20 miles away in the tiny community of Skwentna, Alaska.
Steele said the fire likely started after he mistakenly placed a large piece of cardboard in his old wood stove, which sent a spark through the chimney and onto the roof. By early morning the next day, the roof had become engulfed in flames.
In a news video posted by NBC News, Steele told reporters that had his bullets not been destroyed in the fire, he may have faced real temptation to use them to end his suffering.
Alaska Man Rescued After More Than 20 Days Stranded In The Wilderness | NBC Nightly News youtu.be
During his time stranded in the wilderness, Steele rationed out what little canned food he had, at one point forcing down pineapples — a food he is allergic to.
Now rescued, Steele plans to return home to Salt Lake City, where his family still lives, in order to regroup. But he isn't done with Alaska.
He told reporters that he will eventually head back to Alaska to rebuild, this time constructing two cabins "in case one burns down."