Uruguayan found alive after four months lost in Andes
Man became lost in snow after motorcycle broke down and spent winter eating rats and raisins
Man with high blood pressure, a history of smoking and signs of undernourishment surprises doctors by surviving winter in the mountains.
A 58-year-old Uruguayan man who disappeared four months ago in the remote Andes Mountains was found alive last night, after he spent a brutal winter eating rats and raisins to survive, local media reported.
He then reportedly lost his way during a snowstorm.
Argentine officials from the northwestern province of San Juan stumbled upon Mr Gomez in a shelter 2,840 metres above sea level when they traveled there to record snow levels.
A feeble Mr Gomez was able to hobble over and open the shelter’s door, alerting the crew to his presence.
“The truth is that this is a miracle. We still can’t believe it,” San Juan Governor Jose Luis Gioja told the local Diario de Cuyo newspaper.
“We let him talk to his wife, his mother and his daughter. ... I asked him: ‘Are you a believer?’ He told me, ‘no, but now I am’.”
Sugar, raisins, rats and the shelter’s leftover supplies kept Mr Gomez alive through the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. He lost 20kgs during the ordeal and is dehydrated, according to media reports.
Photos of an emaciated, bearded Mr Gomez resting on a bed were splashed on the websites of Argentine newspapers Clarin and La Nacion.
A doctor who examined Mr Gomez was surprised by the man’s resilience, according to Uruguayan newspaper El Pais.
“He’s a patient with high blood pressure, a history of smoking and signs of undernourishment,” the doctor was quoted as saying. But “he’s going to be fine and in a few days we’re going to discharge him.”
In 1972, a plane carrying an Uruguayan rugby team to Chile crashed in the Andes. Some of the survivors sustained themselves by eating dead bodies.