Lost skier survived on Mars bar and snow
Wednesday 22 February 1995
Andrew Wilson, 44, said that the snow helped him to remain conscious as he sheltered from 70mph winds in a snow-hole he had dug on a 3,000ft (900m) plateau near Braemar.
Mr Wilson was found yesterday morning by mountain rescue teams as he staggered down a hill at Glenshee. Doctors who treated him for hypothermia at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee said last night that he was "in remarkably good shape". He is expected to leave hospital tomorrow. It is thought to be the longest time, outside military exercises, that a skier has survived in such conditions in Scotland.
"As far as I am concerned he is Scotland's longest survivor on the mountains," said the rescue co-ordinator, Graham Gibb, last night. "We must have walked right past him or over the top of him because we covered the area where he had dug himself in."
Mr Wilson, of Croftfoot, Glasgow, became separated from his cross-country skiing companion, Robert McNeill, when blizzards struck the Highlands on Saturday.
In "white-out" conditions, he dug a snow shelter and climbed into his bivouac bag, where he remained until Monday evening, when a "weather window" appeared. Wind chill pushed temperatures as low as -30C during his ordeal.
With the help of a bright moon, he managed to make his way down a gully towards the main A93 road at Glenshee, where he was spotted by a Royal Navy helicopter shortly after 10am yesterday. Confused, dehydrated and suffering from extreme cold, he was lying in the snow. Last night Mr Wilson's wife, Marion, travelled to Dundee to be reunited with her husband. She said she was "immensely relieved, overjoyed and delighted" that he had been found alive. "All our prayers have been answered," she said.
Mrs Wilson, herself a cross-country skier, said her husband spent his first two nights in roughly the same area then attempted to move down the hill. At one point he saw a helicopter about 200 yards away but the crew did not spot him.
He spent a third night in a makeshift bivouac before striking out again yesterday.
Mrs Wilson said her husband made a final bid for safety yesterday morning "because he did not feel able to survive another night". Snow conditions were so difficult that Mr Wilson was forced to crawl on hands and knees at certain points during his four-day ordeal.
Mr Wilson, an accomplished outdoorsman, had not told his wife whether this experience would make him give up skiing but she added: "I certainly would not stop him ... I'm his wife, not his keeper." Emotion was running high when they met in the hospital. "He is emotional. He will talk away and then all of a sudden there is a wee crack in his voice. But he is OK."
At Ninewells Hospital doctors and rescue workers praised his resilience and "textbook mountain emergency procedure". Flight Sergeant Bill Batson, leader of the RAF Leuchars mountain rescue team, who joined the search for Mr Wilson, said: "His survival is down to his own skill and ability. He was properly dressed and is very tough. He has done exceptionally well."
Three climbers and walkers have died in the Highlands in the past 10 days.
A search for Anthony Marsh, who fell through a cornice on Ben Nevis on Saturday, was called off yesterday.
Rescue workers have all but given up hope of finding him alive.
Gale-force winds and blizzards are forecast for today.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...