Man stranded in snow for three days survives on FROZEN BEER

A driver stranded in snow for three days at temperatures of minus 17 has survived by eating frozen beer.

Clifton Vial, 52, became stranded in his Toyota Tacoma 40 miles outside Nome, Alaska after plunging in a snow drift.

Uncharacteristically unprepared for the situation, he was wearing jeans and a thin coat – not protective enough to dig himself out of the snow without getting frostbite.

Survival: When Clifton Vial became stranded in snow outside Nome, Alaska, he only had a few cans of Coors Light to get him through three days

Survival: When Clifton Vial became stranded in snow outside Nome, Alaska, he only had a few cans of Coors Light to get him through three days

And with no signal on his cellphone, he had to sit and wait for his colleagues to realise he was missing.

He kept warm in a fleece sleeping bag and by wrapping a bath towel around his feet, and would occasionally start the truck to run the heater. He stuffed rags in his clothes and unraveled tissue paper, pushing it down around his feet.

After searching the truck, he found only three cans of frozen Coors Light.

'I cut the lids off and dug it out with a knife,’ he told the Anchorage Daily News.

‘I felt really pissed at myself. I shouldn't have been out there by myself unprepared for what I knew was possible.’

He said the cold was more unbearable than the hunger.

Freezing: Temperatures reached minus 17 degrees as Vial waited for rescuers to reach him in the truck. He feared he would not wake up if he slept

Freezing: Temperatures reached minus 17 degrees as Vial waited for rescuers to reach him in the truck. He feared he would not wake up if he went to sleep

‘When I was just sitting there in my coat in the sleeping bag liner I would pull my arms inside my T-shirt to try and utilize my body heat as much as I could,’ Vial said. ‘That worked fine for some time, as far as keeping my torso warm and my arms. But my legs and feet where getting pretty cold.’

Vial’s wife and daughter were out of town and he feared he would never see them again.

‘I tried to sleep when I could,’ Vial said, ‘but I knew that I might not wake up.’

When Vial failed to turn up for work the next day, co-workers patrolled the area – and alerted the police when he failed to show up for a second shift.

'I cut the lids off the beer cans and dug it out with a knife'

Clifton Vial


Troopers joined the search. Rescuers looked for Vial on the ground and from the air, in planes and from a helicopter.

‘When we get called on situations like this, it's a needle in a haystack,’ Jim West Jr., a Nome fire department captain and search and rescue coordinator, told the Anchorage Daily News.

More than 40 miles out of town, at about 9:30 that night, Vial's pickup plunged into a snowdrift.

Three days after he first became stranded in the snow, rescuers pulled up behind his pick-up.

They gave him a Snickers bar - it seemed too dry to eat, he said - and an orange soda.

He planned to visit a doctor Friday afternoon, then return to work. He showed no signs of frostbite.

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