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Trapped under an ATV: What would you do?

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:11 am
by southalabama
Would you do anything different than this guy? Would you have been as prepared?

Canadian Man Survives 96 Hours Trapped Under an ATV
Tuesday , January 22, 2008



Alberta, Canada —

A paramedic who's used to saving the lives of others found himself having to eat rotting beaver meat and fend off snarling animals to ensure his own survival while trapped for 96 hours in Alberta bush country.

Ken Hildebrand of Fort McMurray was riding his all-terrain vehicle as he collected animal traps north about 80 miles southwest of Calgary, on Jan. 8 when the ATV rolled after hitting a rock and trapped him underneath.

Hildebrand, who has a weak leg due to polio, ended up face down on the snowy ground with his machine pinning his strong leg.

"He was stuck there for four days and three nights — almost 96 hours straight," said Troy Linderman, director of Crowsnest Pass emergency medical services said.

Hildebrand's injuries aren't described as life-threatening, but there is a chance his right foot might have to be amputated.

Hildebrand, who wouldn't give his age, said he kept himself alive — albeit sick — by eating the rotting meat of the animals he had collected.

He said he faced constant harassment from coyotes who were growling and fighting each other a few feet away, but was able to keep them at bay by constantly blowing a whistle he had with him.

"It was time to get ready for survival mode," Hildebrand said.

As a paramedic, he knew people start losing heat quickly from their upper body so he took a beaver carcass and set it by his groin to help keep his body warm. He used another beaver as a bit of a windbreak and part of its skin as a makeshift pillow.

With no water or food with him, no snow close by and nothing but dirt around him, he quickly became dehydrated. He pulled some surveyor's tape through his teeth to get a little bit of the dew that dropped onto it.

"I ate a lot of dirt to get a little moisture," he said.

By the second night he was so hungry he started to pick at the beaver bones an hour after the sun went down.

"I tried to eat pieces of that, but it made me sick and I threw up," Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand made several attempts to get out from under the ATV, including using an ax to pry it off, but he didn't have enough leverage to free his leg.

As Hildebrand was entering his fourth day of being trapped, he began to accept the fact he might not be found before the cold, malnourishment or animals claimed him. His saving grace came when a hiker and a dog from Pincher Creek found him.

"He was hiking and he came there because he told me he had this funny intuition and urge to go hiking there even though he'd never been there before," Hildebrand said.

After spending a night in the Crowsnest Pass hospital, he was transferred to Lethbridge, where he has undergone several operations to treat frostbite and injuries to his legs.

"It's amazing that he's alive. I can't believe it," Linderman said. "Ken's as tough as nails."

Despite hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and leg injuries, Hildebrand's only concern after being rescued was not being able to make his next paramedic shift, Linderman said.

Hildebrand, who works teaching first aid and heavy equipment at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, said he still has property in the Crowsnest Pass and was there seeing if he could help ranchers with the problem of wolves preying on cattle.

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:55 pm
by AwPhuch
1. Not go out alone

There problem solved

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:19 pm
by ais4122
I have an ATV, a Polaris Sportsmen 500. I have never gone out in the woods ALONE with it. The buddy system, it works :roll:

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:42 pm
by Milkboot
+1 on not going out alone, and maybe some form of communication [cell phone, radio or ELB] on a vest or belt.


Now that I think about it, Even if he did go out alone, telling someone where he would be and when he would be comming back as the first thing to do.

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:23 pm
by Steev
When I had my cherokee I sometimes made short trips alone to popular places. Never had a problem but I always told someone reliable where I was going and when I will be home and when they should be contacting someone to look for my body heh..

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:43 pm
by maddmatt
tell some one where your going and when you'll be back.theres one guy in the mountain crawlers around here who unpinned himself with his winch, by throwing the cable over a thick branch/trunk and winching his atv off of himself.

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:12 am
by bluerider450
Wow thats a shitty situation. I had a neighbor who was riding his friends quad in the desert. He had been drinking all day and he ended up crashing into a stock tand and the quat pinned him under the water. He was able to struggle his way out just before he was about to inhale some of the water.

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:40 pm
by David12
What I wonder, since he was at work, when he didnt get back at a normal time, or hell didnt come back at all, why didnt anyone start looking for him?

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:19 pm
by zombie_mike
It's an ATV, not a bus. Bad leg(s) or not, it can be pushed or levered off.

Especially trapped face down with on your leg, you may be able to lift yourself on your knees and shift it enough to free your good leg.

If there was a few sturdy sticks and rocks in reach, you can try to lift the atv a few inches, just enough to free the leg.

Or dig out below your leg.

Either way, since it's not a friggin polar bear on my leg...one way or another, its getting off.

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:09 pm
by bluerider450
It's an ATV, not a bus. Bad leg(s) or not, it can be pushed or levered off.
Not exactly, back in the day I had my Suzuki DR350 land on my back after wrecking. That thing weighs half of what most ATV's weigh and it took me 20 minutes to get out from under the damn thing. Ever seen a grizzly 660? I think that they weigh around 600 pounds dry! throw in gasonine and gear and youve got some hefty weight on you, not to mention injuries from the crash.

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:23 pm
by zombie_mike
bluerider450 wrote:
It's an ATV, not a bus. Bad leg(s) or not, it can be pushed or levered off.
Not exactly, back in the day I had my Suzuki DR350 land on my back after wrecking. That thing weighs half of what most ATV's weigh and it took me 20 minutes to get out from under the damn thing. Ever seen a grizzly 660? I think that they weigh around 600 pounds dry! throw in gasonine and gear and youve got some hefty weight on you, not to mention injuries from the crash.
so it'll take 40 min ;)

My point is that you have a choice to lay there and get weaker...eventually die, or use strength and wits while they are still with you. You can always retain the option to eat rotten beaver. (tee-hee, tee-hee).

Besides, if he's a paramedic, he's probably a little more fit than most....he's used to hefting (sometimes large) people.

I obviously can't speak from experience on this one, but I just do not see how anyone could get hopelessly trapped under an ATV, no matter if it's a 660 or a minibike.

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:42 pm
by BAD BOY
zombie_mike wrote:
bluerider450 wrote:
It's an ATV, not a bus. Bad leg(s) or not, it can be pushed or levered off.
Not exactly, back in the day I had my Suzuki DR350 land on my back after wrecking. That thing weighs half of what most ATV's weigh and it took me 20 minutes to get out from under the damn thing. Ever seen a grizzly 660? I think that they weigh around 600 pounds dry! throw in gasonine and gear and youve got some hefty weight on you, not to mention injuries from the crash.
so it'll take 40 min ;)

My point is that you have a choice to lay there and get weaker...eventually die, or use strength and wits while they are still with you. You can always retain the option to eat rotten beaver. (tee-hee, tee-hee).

Besides, if he's a paramedic, he's probably a little more fit than most....he's used to hefting (sometimes large) people.

I obviously can't speak from experience on this one, but I just do not see how anyone could get hopelessly trapped under an ATV, no matter if it's a 660 or a minibike.
I'm gonna have to agree with you on this. I know the 4x4 ATVs are heavy as hell but I have little doubt I could free myself shortly by doing some of the above mentioned things. I'd like to see a picture of this guy, I'm guessing he's a really small guy and maybe not all that sharp, medic or not.

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:20 pm
by jamoni
Are you guys serious, that you can't see how someone could get pinned under an ATV?
http://www.atv.info/article.cfm?id=343
Check the dry weights. Between 500 and 800 lbs. You are telling me that, from a face down position with a crushed leg, in iexcruciating pain, and weakened from blood loss, you could lift an 800lb machine from your leg? And that anyone who can't "must be a pretty small guy"?

:roll:

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:47 am
by thelight
What could you do ahead of time to make freeing yourself easier? My first thought is amateur radio and the wilderness protocol. Letting people know when you're supposed to be back would be a good thing too. Could you attach a lever to the side of your ATV? small block, tackle, and anchor? Flare gun?

Personally, I'm not exactly a small guy and I can leg press nearly 800 lbs for a rep or three. I can do 500 lbs for ten reps with little difficulty. I'm guessing it would be fairly easy for me to push one of these things up/off enough to pull a leg out. However, the guy in the article didn't have that luxury, his free leg was weak, the trapped one was, well... trapped. I have a feeling that over the course of three days he tried to get himself free by whatever means he had at his disposal.

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:17 pm
by zombie_mike
jamoni wrote:Are you guys serious, that you can't see how someone could get pinned under an ATV?
http://www.atv.info/article.cfm?id=343
Check the dry weights. Between 500 and 800 lbs. You are telling me that, from a face down position with a crushed leg, in iexcruciating pain, and weakened from blood loss, you could lift an 800lb machine from your leg? And that anyone who can't "must be a pretty small guy"?

:roll:
I donno. After seeing those pics, I am more convinced that getting free would be easy. The shape of the atv's are such that what could solidly have you pinned? There's almost no flat spots, so the part that you would have pinned is relatively small. Besides that, there's no way an ATV upside down could really be all that stable. It probably wouldn't take much to rock it.

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:30 pm
by jamoni
zombie_mike wrote:
jamoni wrote:Are you guys serious, that you can't see how someone could get pinned under an ATV?
http://www.atv.info/article.cfm?id=343
Check the dry weights. Between 500 and 800 lbs. You are telling me that, from a face down position with a crushed leg, in iexcruciating pain, and weakened from blood loss, you could lift an 800lb machine from your leg? And that anyone who can't "must be a pretty small guy"?

:roll:
I donno. After seeing those pics, I am more convinced that getting free would be easy. The shape of the atv's are such that what could solidly have you pinned? There's almost no flat spots, so the part that you would have pinned is relatively small. Besides that, there's no way an ATV upside down could really be all that stable. It probably wouldn't take much to rock it.
Check your physics. Being pinned by a small surface would be WORSE, as the entire weight of the vehicle would be concentrated on that one area. Also, the things aren't big mirror smooth eggs: they have pointy bits, edges, wheelwells, and all sorts of other ins and outs that could tangle up your leg. For instance, suppose you got part of your pants/foot wrapped around an axle? Still think you are going to flip it off of you with a flick of your wrist and saunter away?
It's one thing to critique someone's performance to learn from it. It's another to armchair quarterback.

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:00 pm
by bluerider450
The guys who think they could free themselves have a right to their opinions, and maybe they could. In my case I have been in a similar situation and Im no pussy. I workout daily and weigh a lean 190lbs, but when I had to do a pushup with 260lbs of metal and plastic on my back it just wasnt that easy. Some of the ATV's on the market are freaking behemoths, and with 600 pounds of dead weight pinning you down the odds are that you arent going anywhere. The best thing to do to prevent this is to never ride alone. This reminds me of an experience I had at the motocross track, I think Ill post that in the personal experiences thread so Im not jacking this one.