One 30-year-old man was living a peaceful life in the Alaskan wilderness until one day it all burned down. Literally. After his cabin burned down, Tyson Steele was forced to figure out how to survive on his own. After 20 days living in the wilderness, he was finally rescued.
Steele lived alone in a small house in Skwentna, a town located 70 miles northwest of Anchorage. Skwentna has a population of only 35 people and Steele’s closest neighbor lived 20 miles away, so his life was the definition of remote.
When a piece of flaming cardboard flew up his fireplace chimney and started a small fire, Steele didn’t have any neighbors to turn to for help. That small fire eventually grew and burned down Steele’s cabin, leaving him to face the elements alone without shelter. He had no means of communication and was wearing only longjohns, boots with no socks, and a heavy wool sweater in sub-zero temperatures.
“There were some dark thoughts that came along, but I was one-minded to just get through and just to survive,” Steele told ABC News.
Steele constructed a snow cave to survive the first few nights of subzero temperatures. He then scavenged for scraps of his burned down home to construct a makeshift shelter. He spent 20 days living in the wild.
After a few weeks went by with no word from Steele, his family and friends requested a welfare check from Alaska State Troopers. It’s a good thing they did, because that’s how a helicopter caught sight of Steele waving his arms in the air next to a massive “SOS” sign that he had stamped into the snow.
Once he was rescued, he requested two things: a hot shower and a McDonald’s breakfast. He’s now safe and sound regrouping with family in Salt Lake City before he returns to Alaska.