A Swedish man survived for two months in his snow-covered car on nothing but snow after he was trapped in sub-zero temperatures.
The man, 44, had eaten nothing but handfuls of snow since December 19 when he became bogged down in drifts near the town of Umea in southern Sweden.
Experts think the man went into a kind of human hibernation which slowed down his metabolism and pulled him through the ordeal.
The man had driven off the main road on to forest tracks when his car became stuck fast. On Friday a passing man on a snowmobile stopped to scrape snow from the windscreen of the vehicle and saw movement inside.
As he recovered in a hospital today details emerged of depression and debts piling up on him and it is thought he might have been trying to take his own life.
Police initially thought the man was a nature lover who had become trapped in the snow while on an expedition to photograph elk.
But now it emerges there was a court judgement against him in December because of debts totaling $235,000.
Neighbours of the man in the town of Orebro in central Sweden said he had also broken up with his girlfriend and had lost contact with his father and other family members 20 years ago.
“We now have to wait until he is better to try to find out what really was in his mind,” said police officer Ebbe Nyberg.
The man survived by taking handfuls of snow from the roof of the car. The only other things found with him were cigarettes and comic books.
“Absolutely incredible that he is alive, in part considering that he hasn’t had any food, but also bearing in mind that it was really cold for a while there after Christmas,” said a member of the emergency services team deployed to rescue him.
The man was emaciated, barely able to move and could barely speak.
“He was at the end of his tether,” said a police spokesman.
“It was doubtful he could have survived one or two more days.”
The man was wrapped up in a sleeping bag in the car but he had no other warmth; the fuel had run out long ago as he kept the heater running to try to survive as the thermometer plunged on some nights to minus 30 degrees C.
He is recovering in the intensive care ward at Umea University Hospital where he is being fed liquid proteins.
The man has hypothermia and is severely malnourished. He was never registered as missing.
Policeman Ebbe Nyberg added: “He was in a very poor state when we found him. He could not speak, just a few broken sentences and the words snow…eat. And he managed to say he hadn’t eaten anything since December.”