While flying over a remote area north of Anchorage in a helicopter, Alaska State Troopers noticed a message carved into the snowy wilderness. As they got a closer look, they realized exactly what the ominous message meant.
Despite its massive size, Alaska remains largely uninhabited. Even the cities and settlements scattered across the tundra are few and far between, due to the harsh climate and unforgiving landscape. Still, hundreds of thousands of people have tamed portions of the majestic topography, making a formidable living for themselves in spite of their difficulties.
So, when Alaska State Troopers patrol the vast expanse of snow and forestry, it’s not uncommon to stumble across civilians who’ve encountered mishaps or worse. Disturbingly, this was exactly the case when authorities encountered an isolated area in the southern region of the state.
In response to a welfare check, a helicopter team was dispatched to fly over the acreage of 30-year-old Tyson Steele. The Alaska resident lived a relatively secluded life in a remote location 70 miles north of Anchorage but hadn’t been in contact with family or friends for several weeks.
In an effort to locate the possibly missing man, the helicopter team flew over Steele’s plot of land, looking for any sign of life. It was then that the authorities saw a grim scene, confirming their fears.
According to The Blaze, troopers spotted an “S.O.S.” distress signal carved into the snow on Steele’s homestead, which lay in ruins on the icy tundra. The team observed the rubble of Steele’s former cabin, which had obviously been burned in a fire. Despite the devastating situation, rescuers then caught a glimpse of a welcome sight.
Upon hearing the helicopter, Steele stepped out into the open, waving his arms in an effort to signal to the team that he was still alive. The resourceful outdoorsman had miraculously survived for 23 days after his cabin burned down with all of his possessions inside. Although Steele was barely clinging to life, he couldn’t be happier to see the chopper circling his dilapidated abode.
Steele survived the all-consuming fire and managed to live off of the few charred canned goods he pulled from the ashes. Sadly, he lost his beloved canine, Phil, in the furnace. Twenty miles away from civilization and surrounded by forests, hills, rivers, and lakes, Steele had no choice but to hunker down and pray for someone to find him.
Although Steele withstood the elements for nearly a month, he admits that he almost gave up. He reportedly told the media that had his ammunition not been destroyed in the fire, he may have attempted to end his suffering. He even forced himself to consume canned pineapples, to which he’s allergic.
Since his miraculous rescue, Steele joked that he’s ready to return to Salt Lake City, where his family lives. However, he admitted that he isn’t abandoning Alaska altogether. He plans to return and rebuild his homestead. The only difference is that he’ll construct two separate cabins “in case one burns down.”
Steele’s survival is nothing short of incredible. Hopefully, he is more prepared for such instances. However, no one should believe that they’ve truly mastered the dangerous Alaskan landscape.