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Thread: Real life survival fail in Japan - what would you have done?

  1. #1
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    Default Real life survival fail in Japan - what would you have done?

    Recent story carried in the news reports over here (as follows);

    "A father froze to death while sheltering his nine-year-old daughter from the elements as severe blizzards swept northern Japan over the weekend.
    Mikio Okada died as he tried to protect his only child, Natsune, against winds of up to 109kph and temperatures that plunged as low as minus 6 degrees Celsius.
    Mr Okada was one of at least nine people killed in a spate of snow-related incidents as blizzards hit Hokkaido island.
    He was last heard from at 4pm (local time) on Saturday after he collected Natsune from a school where she was being looked after while he was at work.
    He called his relatives to say his truck had become stranded in driving snow, which was several metres deep in places, according to newspaper reports.
    He told them he and Natsune would walk the remaining kilometre to their destination.
    However, the pair were found just 300 metres from the truck early on Sunday morning.
    Mr Okada was reportedly found hunched over his daughter, cradling her in his arms and apparently using his body and a warehouse wall to provide shelter.
    He had taken his jacket off to give to the child, a broadcaster said."

    OK, so this brings up an interesting scenario.
    Without being too judgemental, what was done wrong & what could have been done to prevent this & assist the father & daughter to survive?
    I'm not looking at this situation as a finger pointing exercise.
    There is potential for anyone to find themselves in a similar situation, what will you do if it's you?

    I have some questions to start with.
    Was this weather forecast? If so, why travel in it?
    I can understand the father needing to pick up his daughter from school, but would it not have been more prudent to remain at the school during the blizzard?
    Ok, so the daughter is picked up & the journey home started. The blizzard has then struck.
    What should have been done? What items could have been used for their protection?

    My own thought is that if the truck became stuck then the first priority should have been shelter.
    I believe staying with the truck may have been more prudent.
    The vehicle could have provided better shelter than trying to find alternative shelter during a blizzard.
    Even though it was stuck it could have also provided fuel to start & progress a fire.
    A bit of petrol (gas to you guys) or diesel could have been used to ignite the spare wheel/tyre (after deflation of couse) thus providing a heat source that could have saved both father & daughter.
    At worst there were also at least 4 other wheels/tyres that could have been used likewise to provide heat for a fair length of time.
    That heat, along with the shelter that could have been provided by the vehicle could have sustained both father & daughter until help arrived.
    Seat upholstery could also have been used for personal covering as well as the seat fill also being burnable.
    So, two items that I think should haave been carried (apart from the vehicles std tool kit) are a knife & fire starter.

    Your thoughts re this situation?
    Last edited by Bartnmax; 03-06-2013 at 02:14 AM.

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  3. #2
    Scout Ned's Avatar
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    Well, of course with my skills, knowledge, and the everyday bushcraft tools I always carry with me, I could have built a shelter and fire and things would have been a lot different.

    However, in my opinion this was not a survival fail at all, but rather a success. The article says the father died, not the 9-year old daughter. This brave man's actions and selfless sacrifice saved his daughter's life, and that was the only mission he had.

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    Only thing that comes to mind is they lost the truck in the blizzard when they set out, otherwise it doesn't make any sense that they died so close to it. They set out and then tried to head back to the car perhaps and got lost or just had a mental breakdown. Another article said 8 people were found dead in different vehicles during the blizzard too.

    Sometimes your card is up. Sometimes you go back to your car and find a way to make fire with your upholstery or melt snow to boil water if you can. Take some oil from the car and make a candle wick. Wind permitting maybe you could make a snow trench with a makeshift roof to give you a little insulation. And if that didn't work, that's how they would find my body.

    Here is a pic from that blizzard:
    Last edited by ripcurlksm; 03-06-2013 at 02:44 AM.

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  6. #4
    Bushmaster Ahnkochee's Avatar
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    Truck was just a kilometer from home. I'm assuming the truck had plenty fuel but no traction. Could he not have stayed in the truck and just let the engine run with the cab heater on high, and wait out the storm? I would think with enough snow covering the cab it would provide insulation from the cold like an igloo. Hokkaido is Japan's last frontier their "Alaska" with many parallels so I'm surprised they were not better prepared even for a freak blizzard like this one was.
    That father was a brave self-sacrificing man, a hero. Rest in peace.

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    Scout Chris P. Bacon's Avatar
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    I would also like to know what you're "suppose" to do in that situation.

    Of course with a full tank of gas, I would stay in the truck, but without a running vehicle or available dry wood, I would have probably tried to walk home to.

  9. #6
    Scout Supporter OutdoorsFamilyMan's Avatar
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    Im assuming that the man thought since he was only one kilometer from home he could just walk there. To him it wasnt a survival situation (at least at that point). What I dont understand is he died using his body to form a shelter over his daughter up against a shelter(warehouse). I am not sure why he didnt try to break into the warehouse. We can sit here and speculate what he did wrong but we will never know what was going through his mind and all the other variables in that situation. He died a hero, though.

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    My thoughts are this is a tremendous tragedy.

    Its also a demonstration of complete devotion and sacrifice for the one you love.

  12. #8
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    At first I thought sit in truck. But as snow built up around truck exhaust would over power u inside truck. So then he really should of had some blankets and stayed in truck. He made a mistake thinking he could make it outside. Atleast his child made it?

    I have always since i was 21 carried blanket now i carry a tarp and wool blanket and axe lighter and a bag of food and water. It just sits in my truck year round.

    Most people just dont plan for accidents. Not sure could keep fire going in bad blizzard if not much wood. But blankets and tarp in truck i think they both could of made it. He would of had to keep from being buried with snow.

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    Starting and keeping a fire going in that kind of storm would be tough. God bless him for the sacrifice.

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  16. #10
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    They should have at least stayed with the truck until help arrived.

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