A teenage skier who got lost in weather so cold that his gloves froze survived the ordeal by building himself an igloo made of snow and pine needles and drinking from a near-by stream.
Nicholas Joy, 17, of Medford, Mass., was found at 9 a.m. today, three days after he disappeared from Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine on Sunday afternoon.
The teen was found on the Caribou Pond Road snowmobile trail, on the west side of the mountain, by Warwick, Mass., fire captain Joseph Paul. Joy was about 4 miles from a road and 2 miles from Sugarloaf Mountain.
“I turned the news on to see what the weather was like, to go snowmobiling, and I heard about Nicholas,” Paul told ABC News. “My grandfather and I used to hike up there a lot, so I knew the trail well and figured I could help out.”
Joy was walking along the snowmobile trail when Paul spotted the teenager waving him down.
“I’m glad to see somebody,” Joy told Paul when he was first rescued.
Paul gave the cold and starving teen some peanuts and crackers that he had in his snowmobile along with his gloves, since Joy’s were frozen.
Joy survived by staying in his igloo a majority of the time, but ventured away from the shelter during the day to look for help, said Austin. He stayed in the igloo for both nights, but made his way to the road when he heard Paul’s snowmobile.
Paul said the teen told him that he learned how to survive in the wilderness by watching a survival show on television.
Paul and the EMTs were surprised at how good Joy looked after being stuck in freezing temperatures, which dipped down into the low teens and snowy conditions.
“Joy was walking under his own power and was taken to a waiting ambulance, where he was checked out by EMTs before being transported to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine for further evaluation”, said Ethan Austin, spokesman for the Sugarloaf police department.
Joy had split up from his father at the top of the mountain Sunday when the two decided to take separate ski trails down.
Joy had planned on meeting his father, Robert Joy, in the resort’s parking lot, but when he did not show, Joy’s father called authorities.
“It’s not common,” Austin said when speaking on how often these incidents occur. “It happens on occasion once or twice a year, but usually those searches are done within a matter of hours.”
More than 1,000 people were organized to search for Joy.