During the height of the cold snap at the beginning of the year, 53 year-old driver Tim Rutledge found himself at a truck stop in Indiana, sleeping in his truck, waiting out the sub-zero temperatures. When he woke up he found that his brakes had frozen during the night, so he climbed under his truck to break up the ice to free them up. As he was down there, his truck shifted in the snow and he was pinned beneath an axle.
Not only was the temperature around -10F, but the wind was blowing at around 30 mph, bringing the wind chill down to -35F. That wind prevented anyone else from hearing Rutledge’s calls for help and he was stuck under his truck in the freezing weather for a full eight hours.
Lucky for Rutledge, he has a wife who he checks in with every morning to let her know where he’s at and where he’s headed. When he failed to call her, she get worried and called him repeatedly. His phone was in his pocket, and he was unable to reach it, but because she called so many times, the vibrating of the phone caused it to fall out of his pocket and right in front of his face. He was able to use the voice command features to call the last number in his phone which happened to be his dispatcher.
“I said ‘Whoever this is, don’t hang up on me because it’s going to be the last time that I’ll be able to call. I can’t call out and I can’t answer the phone,’” he told reporters while he was recovering in a hospital in Indianapolis.
His dispatcher was able to call the truck stop, who notified the local authorities, who were able to locate him under his truck.
When his rescuers arrived, they found that Rutledge had literally frozen to the ground and they had to cut him out of his clothes to be able to remove him from under his truck. By the time he made it to the hospital, Rutledge’s body temperature had dropped to 86o.
The trauma surgeon who treated him said that another hour in the cold would have killed him, but he was incredibly lucky to have escaped without even getting any frostbite injuries.
Rutledge himself claimed that he was lucky to be alive.
“There was another hand in this,” he said. “If my phone would’ve dropped the other way, I could never have called anyone. If [the truck] would’ve sunk any farther, I wouldn’t have had a need to call anyone.”
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Source: the guardian