January 22, 2008 / 12:04 AM / 10 years ago

Canadian survives wilderness ordeal on rotting meat

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - A Canadian man survived 96 hours pinned under his all-terrain vehicle in the Rocky Mountains by eating rotting animal carcasses, drinking melted snow and thinking of his grandchildren, he said on Monday.

Ken Hildebrand was trapped face down for four days and three nights in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta, where he tried numerous ways to free himself in below-freezing temperatures.

Throughout the ordeal, he kept wolves and coyotes away by blowing on an emergency whistle.

“I thought of my family and God and that was it,” Hildebrand, a paramedic, told Reuters from his hospital bed in Lethbridge, Alberta.

He was finally rescued from the wreck on a little-used trail in the foothills by hikers.

Hildebrand, who declined to give his age, was taken to a hospital in the Crowsnest Pass then transferred to Lethbridge, where he has spent the past eight days being treated for leg injuries and frostbite.

He said he was checking animal traps on January 8 in an area about 80 miles southwest of Calgary, where ranchers had complained of wolves preying on livestock.

The vehicle hit a rock, throwing him off and settling on his legs.

He tried into the night to pry the ATV off with an axe that he had on the vehicle to no avail. He also attempted to lift it up by pounding animal bones into the ground, but his awkward position made that impossible too.

“So I‘m in survival mode now,” he said. “I had to use what I had at my disposal.”

He stayed alive by eating the animals he had collected, although the rotting flesh made him sick, the Calgary Sun newspaper reported.

A hospital official said Hildebrand’s injuries are not described as life-threatening, but the newspaper, quoting an Emergency Medical Services official, reported that one leg that was pinned might have to be amputated.

Editing by Eric Beech

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