A search and rescue has been unsuccessful for 10 days, until two men were found in the Pershing County, Nevada dessert. One of the men died while the other survived after being rescued.

I read a story about a seventy-six-year-old man who managed to survive for ten days in the Nevada desert after his friend passed away. Even though he was extremely alert and awake, the man could not get back on his feet because he do not have food or water to make it through. The article mentions the man who died as as a diabetic with a pacemaker that had undergone triple-bypass heart surgery

The first question I asked myself was why one died and the other, in poor health, survived. What lessons can be learned from their ordeal?

This is a selected portion of an article from the Reno News 4, an affiliate of NBC:

Klemovich told the Sheriff he kept hydrated by melting snow and remembering what he learned as a Boy Scout. … He confessed to the Sheriff he wouldn’t be going out there again without several survival items in his vehicle.

Lesson one: Prepare yourself with skills, take first-aid training, read books and blogs to keep you well informed. Keep a store of food, water and supplies in your home for an emergency.

Another question I asked in my article was why they weren’t found for ten days. This brings me to lesson two: Always tell someone the specifics of your whereabouts and when you’ll be back.

But there are other, less known lessons that this story holds as well. Ones that you might not be as familiar with.

Why Did One Man Die?

First, I have to tell you that a friend of mine died recently, Laszlo Szabo. He was seventy-five years old and left for help about a few days earlier. However, I think he might have been as healthy as the other two guys who were found around the same time—they all perished from exposure to extreme cold.

One thing that decreased the man’s survival chances could have been the extra calories he burned from walking. Men have been known to live without food for many weeks. Ghandi fasted for twenty-one days. The man who survived stayed put. Lesson three: If you’re in search of a long-term survival plan, try staying put rather than walking around,

Other contributing factors:

  • It’s possible that Szabo was not carrying enough water with him. Not only is he going to need water to drink, but it will likely be hot. Dehydration can come on quicker in hot desert areas – meaning he could only survive unprotected for 3-5 days, even less if they are fit. The man who survived 36 days without food has reportedly
  • It is possible he became very disoriented, because after being gone for 2 days, he was found 1.5 miles away from the car. He could have died shortly after trying to walk out or been in circles the whole time. Dehydration can also cause you to have poor judgement and confusion. This isn’t the only issue that it can lead to, but I doubt you’d want that in a survival setting too!
  • The car was a shield against the elements, but he no longer had it. Lesson five: If you must leave, make sure to bring a coat/jacket for protection from the sun, wind and cold.

What helped the other man survive?

  • Klemovich preserved his energy, burned fewer calories, and may have had more access to stored calories. Lesson six: Staying put is a riskier business without knowing where you’re going and with limited food/water resources
  • When Tony packs for a trip to the desert, he always makes sure to bring his Scouts skills. This could include building a fire or other activities that help keep him warm at night or during colder times of day. His body will use more energy when it’s cold, but Scout skills like getting materials together can help teach you about how to stay warm too!
  • In his medical condition, I doubt he was able to walk very far without experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. Lessons from this mishap: Lesson eight: Know your limitations. Lesson nine: Keep a few days of essential medication in your car supplies.

So Why Didn’t the Diabetes Kill Klemovich?

The article does not mention which type of diabetes he has, but I presume it is type 2. This form of diabetes causes blood glucose to suffuse out in high quantities, but does not allow for efficient use. Fasting for prolonged periods of time wreaks havoc on the metabolism. Calorie restrictions are central to treatment (though not this short term and not to this extreme). Fasting over many months may have helped his blood-sugar levels. Plus, hydration helps dilute extra sugar and excrete toxins through the urine. The fact that he kept drinking undoubtedly helped keep his diabetes in check.

Lesson 10

The Associated Press reports, “Joanne Klemovich said she knows the first words she’ll say to her husband of 48 years as of Wednesday: ‘Happy belated anniversary.’” Lesson ten: If you forget your wedding anniversary you’d better have a good excuse.

Photo by Drew Hays/Unsplash

Similar Posts