Going Missing in Wilderness Saved This Man's Life

Says his daughter, who says Dick Sturm wouldn't have seen a doctor otherwise

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 16, 2013 1:19 PM CST | Updated Dec 21, 2013 7:02 AM CST

(Newser) – You would think that the "saved" part would come into play just once in the story of a Longview, Wash., man who survived for five days in below-zero temps in his truck after getting lost on a logging road and sliding into an embankment. Dick Sturm managed to do so with just a Snickers bar, a bottle of water, and his smarts, reports KATU. As the Daily News adds, the 67-year-old Navy veteran wrapped himself in blankets he kept in his truck, and wore three sweatshirts in addition to his jacket; he got more water by scraping ice off his car's exterior with a credit card. He went missing after leaving his daughter's home on Dec. 7, and was finally found by a hunter.

But the story doesn't end there. Daughter Julie Nelson was concerned about her father's recent propensity for getting lost and confused, and so she asked doctors—who her "stubborn" father would have otherwise resisted seeing, she says—to do more than a cursory check of her dad's health, reports KGW. What they found, via CT scan: a brain tumor that Nelson believes would have gone unnoticed if not for the accident. "We wouldn’t have been able to convince him to go to the hospital on his own," she explains, calling it "a blessing in disguise." (Click for another tale of cold-weather survival, in which a small dog emerges a hero.)

Dick Sturm.
Dick Sturm.   (Cowlitz County Sheriff)
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