it can happen anywhere ... thankfully the people below had some luck, and kept cool to stay alive
always carry the essentials ... even on a dayhike and preferably on yourself
An 86-year-old man who went missing last week after setting off alone on a hike in eastern Manitoba has been found alive.
RCMP searchers on all-terrain vehicles located Joseph Kuz on Monday morning in a heavily wooded swamp within the search area near Hadashville, east of Winnipeg.
“He was dehydrated and cold and wet of course from that many nights and days in the bush by himself without shelter,” but was otherwise unharmed, said RCMP Constable Miles Hiebert.
According to his nephew, Myron Lamaga, Mr. Kuz was dropped off on the Trans-Canada Highway on Thursday planning to walk to Mr. Lamaga's cabin. But Mr. Lamaga said his uncle was dropped in the wrong place and missed the road.
Mr. Lamaga said his uncle used to trap and was experienced in the bush, so he decided to head overland to the cabin.
“He didn't hit any of my roads and he just went cross-country, which is rugged and the water was over his knees. He said he fell down about 20 times and then finally just got exhausted and holed up in a little drier spot among the cedars,” Mr. Lamaga said.
“He wasn't far from my cornfields and my road. He was only about a third of a mile. He was right on course. But he just got exhausted.”
Mr. Lamaga said his uncle was cold. It rained Thursday night. The next night there was a frost, and it was cold Saturday and Sunday nights, too. Mr. Kuz could see a helicopter searching for him, but he was too weak to run out into the swampy clearing.
Mr. Kuz was taken by ambulance to hospital in Ste. Anne, Man., where he is being kept for observation.
“He told the ambulance driver the story of his life on the 45-minute drive. He was very talkative. He was thirsty – understandable, four days with no food or water,” Mr. Lamaga said.
“He figured that he couldn't last much longer and one more night would've done him in.”
Mr. Kuz is the second Manitoba senior in less than a week to be found alive after spending multiple nights alone in the bush. On Friday morning, searchers found 66-year-old Nadia Monaco, who became separated from friends two days earlier while picking berries and mushrooms near Belair Provincial Forest, northeast of Winnipeg.
Ms. Monaco is diabetic and searchers admitted their hope of finding her alive was fading. But she had taken shelter in an abandoned shed, and used wire to wrap paper around herself to keep warm. She ate the mushrooms she had picked, and drank rain water from the ground.
Searchers for Ms. Monaco and Mr. Kuz included the RCMP, the Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Department of Natural Resources, and local firefighters and volunteers.
Constable Hiebert said the searchers for both missing seniors did an excellent job.
“We keep going until we come to some kind of conclusion or until we've exhausted every available possibility and avenue, and in this case perseverance appeared to be the key,” he said.
Mr. Lamaga said his uncle has always been healthy. At six feet tall and over 200 pounds, he said Mr. Kuz has worked in everything from mining in Sudbury, Ont., to construction in Southern Ontario.
“He was a very strong man. He could do the work of two or three men,” Mr. Lamaga said. “He was kind of a barroom brawler, too.”
“He ate healthy – lots of vegetables and wholesome food. I guess it worked, cause at 86 and you can stay four nights in the bush, he's in good shape.”