Wrong turn leads to five days in desert

Associated Press
Thursday 17 February 2011 01:00

A motorist aged 84 spent five days stranded in the Arizona desert after getting lost while driving home.

Henry Morello drank the windscreen washer fluid, used car mats to stay warm at night and read his car manual from cover to cover to pass the time. He was finally rescued when a walker discovered him.

"I just kissed him," Mr Morello said. "He looked like an angel to me."

Mr Morello, who was taken to hospital for checks, described his ordeal as he recalled making a wrong turn while driving home from a restaurant on 7 February.

He ended up in a ditch while making a U-turn. The batteries in his car and mobile phone went flat and he tried to walk to safety, but did not get far and returned.

He ripped a chrome piece from his car and put it on the roof, hoping someone would see the reflection.

Unknown to him, a search began when he failed to return home.

Jim Sheehan, a search and rescue leader, said they knew of the missing man. "Nobody ever gave up," said Mr Sheehan, who was on a search plane when he got a call notifying him that Mr Morello had been found.

Doctors at the hospital in Phoenix where Mr Morello was taken said he arrived in good condition, considering what he had been through.

Mr Morello said he had learned a lesson the hard way. "I'll never drive without water," he said.

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