The father in Nevada who kept his girlfriend and four young children alive in sub-zero temperatures has been praised for his skilled methods of survival. The group were reported as lost when they did not return from a trip to have fun in the snow. A huge search and rescue mission then commenced to find them. Thankfully, they were all discovered safe and well, and all six were fit and healthy.
This was due to techniques employed by James Glanton to keep them all warm, including burning the tires of the vehicle and heating up rocks. Without these measures, it could well have turned out to be a tragedy. One of the main factors in this successful survival story is that they all kept together. “That was a big deal” said Paul Burke who is search and rescue co-ordinator for Nevada. Burke thinks this is the key to their living through the experience.
James Glanton, 34, his girlfriend Christina McIntee, 25, their own two kids Chloe and Evan, and their niece and nephew, Shelby and Tate (ranging in age from three to ten) had all gone into the mountain region near Lovelock on Sunday to enjoy some winter play. They were in a Jeep, but it overturned when they went off-road. Attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. The Jeep had tumbled onto its roof and come to rest in a crevice. They were stuck, and the temperature began to drop with the sun. Soon it was 16 below before plummeting even further to minus 21.
Glanton kept everybody huddled up under the tipped-over Jeep,which provided some shelter from the elements. First he made a fire from the spare tire and brush wood to give them some heat.Later he used the fire to heat rocks for additional warmth.
After they were all taken to Pershing General Hospital to be checked over, medical staff were amazed to find they were all unscathed, even the tiny ones. There was no frostbite and all were stable and in good shape. The main ill effects were dehydration and some exposure. Patty Bianchi, CEO of the Hospital said “The father kept them alive and well.”
Christina’s phone was also central to the party being found. Cellphone forensics experts were able to trace the tower her phone was connecting to, and this was a big help in the rescue. They had gone so deep into the wilderness area that it wasn’t possible to call for help, but the signal was just faint enough to leave an electronic trace. This was a huge help to the air patrols to pinpoint their location more accurately in a vast and whited out landscape.
The signal indicated they were in or around the Seven Troughs area. Two planes and two helicopters immediately took to the skies to widen the search. Six aircraft altogether were combing the ranges.
It was a volunteer member of the search party, Chris Montes, who spotted children’s footprints on Tuesday and these led to the Jeep. Chris was one of more than 200 volunteers. There was great jubilation and delight when the family were found. “The mood where I’m at is ecstatic” said Colonel Tim Hahn, of the air patrol, and the Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, tweeted his relief, whilst thanking all those who had joined the search for them.
To be alive after spending two nights out in such frigid and hostile conditions is nothing short of a miracle. James Glanton undoubtedly did a lot of things right. He didn’t just set off into the wide yonder without telling others where they were headed. He had told relatives they were going off to the SevenTroughs, so this narrowed the scale of the search, even though it still took in a 6,000 square mile region.
Crucially, he did not decide to try to go and look for help. Staying with the vehicle and staying together was a great decision. The Jeep provided a landmark for the spotters, and staying together assisted with shared body heat.
They had were all wearing adequate protective clothing. Luckily, as the plan was to romp around in the snow, they had heavy winter kit. They also had some food and water with them. However they didn’t have blankets or anything else to snuggle up into. That’s why Glanton had to use his initiative to find others way to generate heat. His idea to heat up rocks and place them inside the burning tire was very ingenious. The authorities were impressed and Paul Burke credits the improvised survival skills as key to the family surviving.
“They just told me that they’d found them and that was all I wanted to hear” said Shelby’s cousin, David Mosier, from outside the hospital on Tuesday.
There is one Dad in the state of Nevada who will be very thankful to be home this Christmas, and thanks to his admirable survival skills, so will his entire family.
By Kate Henderson