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Man trapped for months in snowed-in car survives after going into hibernation

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snowdriftA MAN trapped in his car in a snowdrift since before Christmas has been pulled out emaciated but alive. It is believed he went into a form of hibernation.

Sweded Peter Skyllberg, 44, was found on Friday by a passer-by near the northern town of Umea, just south of the Arctic Circle, He had been snowed into his car since at least December.

Over that time temperatures had dipped to below -22F (-30C) and he had lost an estimated three stones in weight. When he was rescued he resembled 'a concentration camp survivor'.

His survival has baffled medics and is still being analysed but it is believed he went into a form of partial hibernation, which slowed his metabolism, and his car created an 'igloo effect' of warmer air around him.

Dr Ulf Segerberg, the Chief Medical Officer at Norrland's University Hospital, in Umea said: “If you cool the body, of course the metabolism slows down.

“In the car he had very warm clothes, he had a warm sleeping bag, and as the car was snowed under, that would have made it more like an igloo. Down below the snow, you would normally have a temperature of around zero.”

He added that it was not unusual for someone to survive such a period of starvation.   “Starvation for one month, anyone can tolerate that if they have water to drink. If you have body fat, you will survive even longer, although you end up looking like someone coming from a concentration camp.”

Mr Skyllberg was rescued after a passer-by on a snowscooter noticed the top of the car on the deserted and snowfilled forest road. After clearing off some of the snow he saw the emaciated Mr Skyllberg huddled inside a sleeping bag.   Police initially reported he was 'in really bad shape', starving and barely able to move or speak.   An officer said: “He says himself he has been without food since December, so we think he must have got there around then, or perhaps earlier, in November.”

However he has already been moved into an ordinary ward, and is conversing with nurses and other patients. He is likely to be released within days.  

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