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#223114 - 05/07/11 04:07 PM Stranded for 49 days
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2738
Loc: Alberta, Canada
A strange story about a Canadian couple who vanished 7 weeks ago and turned up in a remote part of Nevada:


"Raymond Chretien said his mother told him they were sightseeing on back roads when their 2000 Chevrolet Astro van got stuck in mud. Three days later, Albert Chretien, 59 set out on foot to look for help, and never returned."

The wife stayed with the van and was eventually found alive by hunters. The search for her husband is on, but a happy ending seems unlikely.

#223116 - 05/07/11 04:42 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
That's incredible.

One has to wonder, being from Canada, why they hadn't prepped just a little better. Unless they had 20lbs of trail mix...

#223117 - 05/07/11 04:48 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I've been following this one too, Doug, wondering what happened to them. There was a similar sounding story just a few weeks before this couple disappeared. That one ended in foul play. I'm glad that wasn't the case this time, but it doesn't sound hopeful for the husband.
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#223119 - 05/07/11 07:01 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Wow. Add Costco sized trail mix to travel kit. Add a PLB
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#223124 - 05/07/11 08:16 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2738
Loc: Alberta, Canada
A few more details are coming in. Nobody was searching for them in Nevada (their ultimate destination), as the last place they were seen was in Oregon.


"Police said she told them they became stuck on the logging road March 21 and she had been there since then, surviving on water alone."


"On Saturday, teams began searching in Nevada's Elko and Owyhee counties. The Chretiens' van was found near the Nevada portion of the Bruneau River and the town of Rowland.
Officials said weather over the past month in that area has included snow, rain and chilly temperatures, and a road near the Bruneau River saw a large landslide in early April."

Also, there are hints that GPS may have been a factor. Apparently they had a car GPS, which the husband took with him when he went for help. Some commenters on the news stories indicate GPS in the area directed them to turn onto this logging road, but they ignored its 'advice.'

#223128 - 05/07/11 11:43 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3600
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I hate to criticize but this is a great learning opportunity. If only more people would pay attention. I've already heard someone write this off to the couple being "old people".

Growing up, my parents and grsndparents always advocated that we travel to "survive not arrive." Any number of things can happen between point A and point B. Especially on a long trip in unfamiliar remote territory, it would seem prudent to take extra supplies. Unfortunately, many people don't get very deep into their "What's the worst that could happen?" thinking.
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#223138 - 05/08/11 04:19 AM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
This is another good example of multiple poor decisions leading to disaster. It's the Kim family all over again.

It really does help to be a little smarter than your GPS.

Penticton, B.C. is hardly a metropolis, they live almost in what could be called 'the sticks', with a lot of wilderness around them, with reasonably cold and warm/dry seasons, not dissimilar to the country they got stuck in.

They followed their GPS onto a logging road. I've been on lots of logging roads, and it's hard to mistake them, really.

One news article said, "...For two days they were getting stuck and unstuck in their vehicle over and over again ..."

So, naturally, they continued? It didn't occur to them that something was wrong and to turn around and go back the way they had come to the highway or interstate? WHY?

There's no mention of building a signal fire.

If he was walking back to the highway, it couldn't have been that far away (the way they kept getting stuck), and if he had followed their car tracks back, they should have found him by now. And if he had walked the 9 miles toward the highway like the hunters did, he should have gotten cell phone coverage, too. Like Kim, did he decide to take a 'shortcut' cross country? In rough country, in bad weather?

I wonder if Rita learned anything from this little outing?

1. If the road gets that rough, turn around and go back the way you came, don't wait until you get stuck or the car breaks down.
2. Stay with the vehicle and build a signal fire.
3. If you decide to leave the vehicle, follow your car tracks back the way you came.
4. Don't try to take shortcuts.
5. When all else fails, THINK!

I'm sorry it happened, but I'm not surprised. They don't sound very smart.


#223142 - 05/08/11 04:38 AM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
It is Also a Possibility the husband met up with Canis Lupus-(Wolves),They have been seen in Packs in Southern Idaho,& Western Utah as of late,where they have not been for 80+ yrs otherwise!

#223153 - 05/08/11 12:51 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
roberttheiii Offline

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 326
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Cheers to the thought of following your tracks out. No cross country shortcut is worth it in a case such as this.

#223178 - 05/08/11 10:06 PM Re: Stranded for 49 days [Re: dougwalkabout]
BruceZed Offline

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Canada
What I found so fascinating is that she basically FASTED for nearly the entire time, as the trail mix could not have last more than a few days. Normally we work on the assumption that you can last 30-40 days without food (i.e. fasting) if you consume 3-4 L of water. If you weight more (i.e. more fat), you can last longer in a survival situation. Colder weather will lessen survival times along with poor weather, but staying in a vehicle and drinking water every day saved her life. She last 49 days which is fantastic to see. She most likely suffered muscle loss and perhaps organ damage as she was out longer that the 30 or so days which is safe on our body.

The biggest psychological barrier to survival she faced is that the first 4 to 5 days when she was hungry and her energy levels were low would have been hard. Hunger subsides in time and energy levels come back up as well. After that she just need to keep mentally busy and not worry about her husband who wander off into the desert.

Staying put and waiting rescue normally is the best thing to do. In this case despite having no real search in the area she was still found by passers-by before she starved to death.
Bruce Zawalsky
Chief Instructor
Boreal Wilderness Institute

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