‘SOS’ sign helps man get rescued after weeks stranded in Alaska wilderness

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(CBS News) – Weeks after an Alaska man’s remote cabin burned down, he was rescued by Alaska State Troopers who found him by a makeshift shelter with an “SOS” signal stamped in the snow. Tyson Steele, 30, was picked up Thursday in what appeared to be good health at his remote homestead 20 miles outside of Skwentna, troopers said in a dispatch.

Alaska Cabin Fire Helicopter Rescue
In this image made from video released by the Alaska State Troopers, an aerial helicopter view from Jan. 9, 2020, shows a man waving with distress signal “S.O.S.” outside Susitna Valley, Alaska. ALASKA STATE TROOPERS VIA AP

CBS affiliate KTVA reports a mid-December fire had killed his dog, a chocolate lab named Phil and left Steele with no means of communication. After his family members and friends hadn’t heard from him for several weeks, they requested a welfare check.

The trooper helicopter crew reached the homestead at about 11 a.m. and saw Steele waving his arms near the makeshift shelter. 

Skwentna, with a population of 35, is 70 miles northwest of Anchorage.

The trooper helicopter transported Steele to Anchorage, 20 days after his ordeal started. 

In an interview with Alaska State Troopers, Steele said he put off eating some of the charred canned food as long as he could. “Last night’s meal was probably one of the worst. I was leaving the burned-off stuff for the last. And last night’s dinner was a can of plastic-smoked refried beans. 

After his rescue, troopers made sure Steele got a shower and a McDonald’s No. 2 combo meal.

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