Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hunters find body 18 months after GPS debacle

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

Eighteen months after a man left his wife and their stranded van, with only an auto GPS to guide him back to civilization, hunters have found his body in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest near Mountain City, Nevada (location map above), close to the Idaho state line.

In March of 2011, Albert Chretien and wife Rita, followed their GPS onto a Forest Service road and got stuck in mud (pictured below) at about 6000 feet elevation. Three days later, he set out for help, guided by an auto GPS. Rita was found alive at the van, 49 days later, but Albert’s remains were never located until now.

Stranded van

Here’s more on the husband’s efforts to seek help…

…Chretien had been heading in the right direction and was roughly 10 kilometres from the nearest town, but his journey was likely hampered by deep snow.

Sheriff’s Deputy David Prall told The Associated Press that the battery on the GPS — which steered the couple in the wrong direction in the first place — probably burnt out and his path began to angle too far north.

“Once he lost the ability to use that GPS, due to the snow drifts, he couldn’t tell where the road was. He did a lot of unnecessary climbing. He was heading literally for the summit of the mountain … where he made it to was far beyond what he was equipped for.

“This man had tremendous courage and inner strength to get where he was,” he said.

Prall also said it was possible that Chretien sought refuge in a “tree well, which is a natural depression in the snow around a tree that occurs in the mountains during the spring time … he may have taken shelter there and then just passed away due to exposure.”

More at CBC News and WaPo.

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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