In a story of survival at all costs, a missing Andes man has been found alive after a grueling 4-month trip turned to turmoil in the Andes mountains near the Chilean and Argentinean border, reports the USA Today on Sept. 8.
Raul Fernando Gomez Circunegui, 58, from Uruguay, was on a motorcycle trip through the Andes when his bike broke down. Setting out on foot, Raul lost his way in a snowstorm.
Gomez was discovered Sunday close to 9,000 feet above sea level in the Los Pator Sur valley. He was dwelling in mountain shelter set up for hikers. Officials from Argentina's northwestern San Juan province had trekked through the mountains to record information on the record snowfall when they stumbled on Gomez’s shelter.
“The truth is that this is a miracle. We still can’t believe it,” said San Juan Governor Jose Luis Gioja. “We let him talk to his wife, his mother and his daughter. He was very excited, though exhausted. I asked him, ‘Are you a believer?’ He told me, ‘No, but now I am.’” Gioja said.
Dehydrated and emaciated, Gomez was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he is expected to fully recover.
Asked how he was able to survive, Gomez said he was able to weather through the harsh winter by eating supplies that he found in the cabin – sugar, rasins and other basic provisions – and something else found in the cabin: rats.
The doctor at Rawson Hospital who treated Gomez said he had lost 44 pounds, and chided Gomez a bit for his other health conditions.
“He’s a patient with high blood pressure, a history of smoking and signs of undernourishment,” his doctor said. “But he’s going to be fine and in a few days we’re going to discharge him.”