A man whose remote Alaskan cabin burned down was rescued after spending 23 days in sub-zero temperatures and scrawling “SOS” into the snow.
Alaska State Troopers said 30-year-old Tyson Steele was picked up Friday in good health from an area 20 miles outside of the nearest town, Skwentna, with a population of 35.
Temperatures in Skwentna, which is 70 miles northwest of Anchorage, reached a high of 6 degrees Sunday, according to AccuWeather.
Troopers responded to a welfare check request on Steele after his family said they hadn’t heard from him in weeks. Video from the rescue shows the stranded 30-year-old waving his arms at the trooper helicopter as it circles the “SOS” signal stamped in the snow.
Once Steele was transported to safety — and requested “a long dreamed-of ‘McDonald’s Combo Meal No. 2′” — he told troopers his cabin burned down in mid-December, killing his beloved six-year-old Chocolate lab Phil.
“And the worst part of all of this — I can survive 23 days again — but my dog was in there, asleep by my side,” he said.
Steele said he survived by salvaging greasy coveralls from his shed for warmth and using scavenged tarps and scrap lumber to build a tent-like domed shelter around the woodstove that once heated his home.
He also managed to find a few “plastic-smoked” cans of beans and peanut butter for sustenance.
He said he now plans to return to Salt Lake City to live with his family.
“They’ve got a dog, and that would be some therapy,” he said.