Autistic Man Survives 3-Week Ordeal in Utah Desert
A 28-year-old autistic man from Colorado was found emaciated but alive on Thursday after living off mainly frogs and roots while wandering for at least three weeks in the remote Escalante Desert of southern Utah, authorities said.
William Martin LaFever of Colorado Springs, Colo., told rescuers that in addition to the bits of food he scavenged, he drank water from the Escalante River while attempting to walk from Boulder, Utah, to Page, Ariz., a distance of approximately 90 miles or more by the route he appeared to be taking.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Department estimated he had traveled about 40 miles before he was found.
“It is some of the most rugged, unforgiving terrain you will find anywhere on Earth, jagged cliffs, stone ledges, sandstone, sagebrush, juniper,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Becki Bronson said in a telephone interview.
“Where William was hiking, there just isn’t anyone out there,” she said. “There are no people. There are no towns.”
The sheriff’s department said it was remarkable that searchers aboard a helicopter were able to find LaFever at all, much less alive.