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

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Bartnmax, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Bartnmax

    Bartnmax Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    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: Mar 6, 2013
  2. Ned

    Ned Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Messages:
    942
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canada
    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.
     
  3. ripcurlksm

    ripcurlksm Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,387
    Likes Received:
    477
    Location:
    CA
    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:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  4. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    6,082
    Likes Received:
    292
    Location:
    Moku Manu, Hawai'i
    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.
     
  5. Chris P. Bacon

    Chris P. Bacon Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Near Chicago
    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.
     
  6. OutdoorsFamilyMan

    OutdoorsFamilyMan Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    772
    Likes Received:
    139
    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.
     
  7. pap11y

    pap11y Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,087
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    My thoughts are this is a tremendous tragedy.

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

    captainamer Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    KC MO
    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.
     
  9. POGEYBAIT

    POGEYBAIT Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    31
    Starting and keeping a fire going in that kind of storm would be tough. God bless him for the sacrifice.
     
  10. Lamewolf

    Lamewolf Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Southeastern Ohio
    They should have at least stayed with the truck until help arrived.
     
  11. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    29,192
    Likes Received:
    555
    Location:
    The outlaw state
    Exactly. This guy was a hero in my book. He gave his life for his daughter, I can't think of anything more noble to do than that.

    I know this will go over like a turd in a punch bowl but I think it's a little cheap for us to sit here and analyze what we would have done. We don't know what the heck we would have done. I'm just glad it wasn't me and my child.

    I get why people want to analyze and I've done the same thing in the past but it doesn't do much good and makes us look like know it all's sometimes.

    So to answer the question, I don't know what I would have done. I pray to God I'd have been as brave as this guy and done my best to save my child's life and pray to God I never have too.

    I've never been in a similar situation so I have no EXPERIENCE to base it on. Most everybody else doesn't either.

    P.s. I don't think he failed at all. He gave his life for another for crying out loud. That's never a fail in my book.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  12. Nakadnu

    Nakadnu OBSERVER Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    2,047
    Likes Received:
    238
    Location:
    NE MT
    First off, I think it would be quite arrogant to say he should have done anything different. Not everyone is versed in survival skills. We have no way of knowing why he did the things he did or if what he did was right or wrong without having been right there at his side. Ok I am done preaching.

    I live in NE MT. Winter temps can drop to -40f and the wind can blow 60 mph. I do a lot of winter driving with and without my family. I never leave town without a full tank of gas. Check the tires and fluids ( no matter how new your outfit is). Always check the weather report. I carry the following items in my 4x4 pickup from September to April,
    Cellphone and charger
    Road flares (great firestarters)
    Chemical handwarmers
    Stormproof matches
    Firearm and ammunition
    Wool blankets x 2
    Space blankets
    Sleeping bag
    coveralls
    Winter boots, coat, hat and gloves for all passengers
    Jumper cables
    Tow rope and chains
    Spare tire, jack and tools
    Fixaflat
    Gasline antifreeze
    Papertowels
    Food and water
    24 pack of tealight candles
    1 or more Bic lighters

    I always tell someone where we are going, when we arrive and when we expect to be back.
     
  13. borego

    borego Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bradenton, FL
    R.I.P


    Hero Daddy
     
  14. Code Red

    Code Red Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2012
    Messages:
    818
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Georgia <-> Dubai
    What would I do in his situation?

    I would pray that I could save my daughter.

    He did that. God bless him for the hero that he is, and comfort his family in their time of grief.
     
  15. AdamDavidson

    AdamDavidson Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Bartnmax - heads up on compassion and reality

    To call this a survival fail is pretentious on par with assuming that you, I, or whoever else will be "the one" surviving...and well...when or if SHTF. This guy was likely making some very difficult choices during that storm, not least of which was putting himself after the ones he loved. It disappoints me to see a post like this on the BushcraftUSA forum that, on the whole, has proven to be a supportive, empathetic, and refreshingly caring and respectful community on the net and beyond.

    I'm not judging you as a person based on some wording in a title, but I wanted to throw out a heads up about how this particular post can paint you as someone who you may not be.

    -Adam
     
  16. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    39,635
    Likes Received:
    1,529
    Location:
    Texas
    When someone dies in a situation like this, it is a learning situation for all of us who might someday encounter a similar problem.

    That said, we cannot really second guess the man. We do not know how events played out, or what his thoughts were as me made decisions.

    What we can do is discuss the options, and try to decide what WE should prepare for, or consider, in a similar situation.

    His decisions up to the point where the truck got stuck I am going to assume were all valid. He was aware of the area and its weather, knew his location,
    and had expectations of getting home. When the truck got stuck, he still had phone com, and alerted others, reporting his plan and route. Good decision.

    He left the truck, with his daughter, in cold and high winds. Would we do the same ? How fast was the snow falling, how deep had it gotten ?
    How deep were drifts on the street ?

    Staying in the truck- good choice or not ? If snow was getting deep, and he was aware of the CO danger, he may have felt the heater was only
    a very temporary aid.

    However, the cab would have eliminated the windchill effect, leaving him to deal only with the -6 degree Celsius temp.

    I wonder how much snow covered his truck before he left. Was it enough to make him fear he would be buried and unfindable if he staid longer ?

    The report says he had only one kilometer to go- 6 tenths of a mile, I think. Now, if I were on the street at the intersection with my home road, I would have exactly 1/2 mile to cover, and I would think I could make that under most circumstances.

    His decision to go seems like a reasonable one, he just underestimated the wind chill effect on his endurance.

    My conclusions: Make sure I have blankets and some power bars and a water bottle for winter travel, and perhaps a folding shovel to use for digging out snow. Some sort of candle heater would be good- a small amount of heat, but also less CO .

    Given either more knowledge or more equipment he surely could have survived, but he had to do the best he could with what he had. He did well.

    Lord bless him and his family.
     
  17. TimberWolf

    TimberWolf Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Eagle River, AK
    I don't know what was in this man's thoughts, what the reasons for being out in the storm were, and why he was not better prepared to protect both himself and his daughter from the storm. I won't comment on his decision making or even try to second guess what caused him to be in such a horrific situation. His sacrifice for his daughter makes him a hero.

    I can only tell you what I do, and how I prepare, living here in Alaska.
    My clothing is my first line of defense against exposure, and whether I choose to wear it, or just have it in the vehicle while driving, my cold weather gear is ALWAYS close at hand. My cold weather gear consists of a heavy parka, insulated bibs, pack boots, mittens (not the little thin ones, but the heavy military kind with a wool insert) and a wool scarf.
    A rubber tub with a full survival kit is always in the back of my truck, at all times. In it are the usual means of staying warm, extra hats, gloves, blankets, a sleeping bag, etc., as well as food and water, tarp, and of course a means for instant fire (a road flare). When the wind is blowing and the snow is falling, you're not likely going to get a fire started, let alone keep it going. Having the means to "hunker down" and stay warm without a fire is not a luxury, but a necessity.
    Don't rely on the vehicle's engine for long term warmth. The fuel will run out quickly, the snow will build up around the tailpipe and suffocate the engine with it's own exhaust (YES, it CAN get so cold that the engines heat will not reach the length of the exhaust system to melt the snow at the end of the tailpipe), or a myriad of other problems can occur to make the engine an unreliable and short lived source of heat. Depending on how heavily the snow is falling/blowing, you may not want to choose the vehicle as a shelter. If it buries the vehicle (as the photo shows), you WILL NOT be able to get out. Wet, heavy snow building up around the doors will seal them shut like a vault, and put so much pressure on the windows, you may not even be able to break them to climb out. The inside of a vehicle can quickly become a coffin, with little to no air exchange through the snow pack. However, a good tarp and the area under the vehicle can help provide a quick, makeshift show cave. Let the drifts become your shelter, keeping an air hole open and clear of snow, to the outside.
    Hunkering down in a snow cave (yes, snow caves work to insulate you from subzero temperatures and the wind, no they are not comfortable but they will save your life), wrapped in a sleeping bag, and waiting out the storm, will be your best bet. Stay with you vehicle, any searchers looking for you will start at your vehicle, so being that much closer to the beginning of the search makes you that much closer to rescue. Don't try to walk ANYWHERE if you can not physically see your destination. Getting lost, turned around, and disoriented is a death sentence if you don't know exactly where you are going. Hypothermia will drain your ability to think straight in a matter of minutes, as well as steal your control over your extremities, and cause you to make very bad decisions.
    After the storm passes, then you can crawl out, assess your situation, build a fire using a flare and your spare tire (the spare tire not only makes a great heat source, but the black smoke acts as a signal as well). The vehicle's interior can then be dug out and accessed to make a much more comfortable place to wait for rescue, or make a plan for self rescue if the chances of someone coming along are slim.
    Just my opinion on how to survive a vehicle trapped in a snow storm.
     
  18. MtnNomad

    MtnNomad Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,400
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NC Mtn's
    RIP,
    He was a Father and Hero to the end.
    Sure to be looking after his little one from above.
     
  19. Bouncer871

    Bouncer871 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    1
    I agree with everyone that he was a hero but with better planning it may not have been a tragedy at all.
     
  20. WiskieTango

    WiskieTango Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Uraga, Japan
    Skype:
    mikewaln88
    Iz,

    I completely agree with you and thank you for posting before me. This man is a hero and should not be judged by anyone except the maker he sits next to now. Just my 2 cents.
     
  21. shonuffisthemaster

    shonuffisthemaster Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Isanti, MN
    I keep my 0 digree f bag in my car during the winter, so if i had a kid with me we could probably both fit in it, or unzip it and use it as a blanket, im guessing we would be fine in most weather inside the car as far as not freezing to death, as long as we didnt get traped in there from a big snow drift. I will be getting a -30f bag next winter so that will be there aswell.

    I would think with a newer (fuel injected) car, if you had fuel it would be better to start it and run it for a bit to warm it up, then shut it off and so on, this would save fuel, unless you were afraid you couldnt get it started again.

    as far as an extended stay, i suppose i really should throw my camp stove, some fuel and a pot in my trunk to melt snow in an emergency, right now i just have a basic survival kit with fire making stuff etc. Ive thought about trying to carry emergency water in my car, and i do in the summer, but in the winter its a big pain caus u have to take it in and out every day or else it will freeze.
     
  22. clanmaki

    clanmaki Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    1,478
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Oregon
    Reading a story like this brings both feelings of admiration and frustration. So for some we cope by focusing on the beautiful, self-sacrificing heroism of that brave Father. For others, (although recognizing the heroism of the father), they are helped to deal with the frustration of the tragedy by learning from it. We all need to remember that all who have posted on this thread, (no matter what our coping mechanism) are on the same side and that each of us are of the same mind set - that if we were there we would have come to the aid of those two in what ever way we could have. You guys-like most on this forum are good hearted people!

    When I read the story I was reminded of one time that my wife and I started out on a drive from Ashland, Oregon to Bend, Oregon one winter. The sky was grey and threatening to snow but other than the occasional flake every now and then the roads were clear. Just as we reached the summit of the pass, Literally within seconds we were hit without any warning by a white-out. The world became a blank, white emptiness. We could not see anything. I had to slow down as fast as I could and hope I didn't drive off the road before I stopped. We sat in the car for a few hours with the motor running to keep us warm. every 10 min or so I would climb out and clear the fast piling up snow from the exhaust pipe.

    The fact that the Father and Daughter were so close to their truck makes me think that when he decided to walk the short rest of the way home, although the truck was stuck the view was clear and that a little ways down the road they must have been hit by a sudden white-out.
    As any one of you who have experienced a true white-out know, You can not see anything. It is very easy to feel panic in this situation! very easy! The fact that he took off his coat and put it on his Daughter and then used his body as a shelter tells me there was nothing he could do and that he kept a clear heads in the face of panic and that he knew he was giving his life for Daughter. An amazing man? yes, but also simply a true Father.

    Thank you for the post Bartnmax! Gave me a lot of things to think about today!
     
  23. rdec

    rdec Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    2,904
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    "When someone dies in a situation like this, it is a learning situation for all of us who might someday encounter a similar problem."

    That is exactly the point and is why accident/incident reports are published in mountaineering and boating journals.

    I'm an old man, living in the northeast where winters can be long and cold. I have kicked around in the woods and on the waters for a very long time and have done my share of soldiering so I carry a lot of gear in the truck because it seems prudent to do so. I am also aware of my limitations and postholing through deep snow could very likely be exhausting and fatal so my inclination would be to stay with the truck for shelter, using the gear and supplies I have. Having a child with me makes me even more inclined to stay at least until the storm blows over.

    This man died protecting his child. While I am sure he would have preferred to survive his death was not an empty one and his daughter lives.
     
  24. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Messages:
    29,192
    Likes Received:
    555
    Location:
    The outlaw state
    I agree that we can learn from stuff like this. If that's what we actually do. But usually we just sit back and talk about what we would have done better. Hence the title of the thread.

    The bottom line is, when the pressure of life and death is on you have no idea what you would do. Zero. You can hope to know what you'd do. You can plan but that doesn't mean you'll execute that plan. Or forces beyond your control may over take you.

    That's what I'm talking about.

    You can plan but to say what you would have done differently is arrogant beyond the extreme in my opinion. You can't know what you would have done differently, you weren't there. I know we all like to be the hero in our own day dreams but sometimes (most times) reality is totally different.

    I'm all for planning and being prepared believe me. I'm neurotic about it sometimes but I know what happens to the best laid plans of mice and men. Especially when it's about life or death of you or a loved one.

    We do a whole butt load of armchair quarter backing on here. A whole butt load. Be it something like this or "correcting" someone on a technique.

    That's all I'm saying. Just be careful about how cocky you get about what you would do and how this guy failed and you wouldn't. It just might happen to you and then others will be analyzing your "failure" on the internet.

    That's all I'll say. It's not worth making somebody mad over so I'll stop. I wanted to say it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  25. madmax

    madmax Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Messages:
    7,411
    Likes Received:
    14
    This.

    He's a hero father.
     
  26. Seniorman

    Seniorman Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    S.W. Idaho
    Yes.

    Several here have stated they'd have got out of the vehicle, built a shelter and then a fire and stayed warm, thereby saving their and their daughter's lives.

    I strongly disagree.

    First, consider this man's situation and location. With snow rapidly building up and the wind blowing in blizzard conditions, there would be no realistic way to set up a tarp, find wood, build a fire and "keep warm."

    Leaving the only real wind break one has in the middle of a blinding blizzard with obviously extreme wind chill temperatures, would be sheer folly. Without any proper clothing, one is going to die very quickly with no protection from the wind chill and snow.

    Some say they'd just use their handy dandy tarp to build a shelter and then start a fire in that blinding blizzard with strong, freezing winds. Problem solved. Huh? Again, consider the conditions. No way would that realistically work.

    Indulging in "shoulda, woulda, coulda," I can only say that in similar conditions, I would stay with my vehicle. Crack a window for ventilation and use whatever stuff -- if any-- I might find in the trunk or use stuff torn from the seats to wrap myself and child enough to ride out the blizzard. I'd use my gas sparingly to run the heater, and now and then, get out to make sure the tailpipe wasn't being clogged. There would be some rescue people along after the blizzard subsided.

    As an aside, just as others here, I keep a whole lot of "stuff" in my truck, and in the trunks of my wife's car, and my car, so the given situation would not apply to me, but I'm relating to the dead man's situation. No blankets, dressed incorrectly, etc. He should have stayed in his vehicle.

    Of course, hindsight is 20-20 vision, isn't it?

    S.M.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  27. rlansdon

    rlansdon Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Who knows?

    Who knows what they will do when they are taken by surprise? You can never plan an emergency due to the very nature of the thing. Admittedly preparedness would have gone a long way. I respect that he sacrificed his own life for his daughter but unfortunately it will have to serve as a reminder that we need to plan according to our environments.

    Thanks
     
  28. Wildmike

    Wildmike Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    423
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Yakima, WA.
    I have been in blizzards.

    They are WAAAY too underrated as killers.

    With winds that speed and those air temps....even with good clothing it will strike the heat from you Very quickly. With the snow you would have total or near total whiteout conditions, disorientation kicks in, all this while the wind and snow rip you up with what seems to be standing in front of a sandblaster.

    Getting out of the car was a huge risk...once done it couldn't be undone. Short distance to home and an optimistic outlook killed him.

    However from the looks of those pictures, if the car had become buried in snow, then either carbon monoxide from running the car or oxygen deprivation would have still been a high likelihood.

    Truly a very nasty situation to be stuck in.
     
  29. Jimmythejet

    Jimmythejet Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
    No fail here. What a hero! Can we say what he was thinking? No. I'll take a guess, though. "Gotta get to my daughter's school and pick her up on the way home from work. Weather looks like shite, and I don't want her to get stuck there overnight - she'll be scared. Wish I brought a warmer jacket." Then they get stuck, and the snow's coming down hard. "We better get the hell outta this vehicle before a plow comes along and can't see us here in the snow. We'll get smeared. Not too far anyway... Hope my truck will be okay"

    Here's a thought... People don't realize they are in a survival situation before it becomes one. He made that leap when he stopped and covered up his little girl. Like probably anyone would. I live in Canada, and am out in the cold all the time. These conditions were the norm for this feller, most likely, and got more severe as it progressed. This likely started out as just another snowfall, and ended up worse that he anticipated. No different than someone going for a swim like every other day, and drowning because he got a cramp, or tangled in an old fishing line.

    It's one km. I walk that in short to get the mail all the time. I am uber prepared most of the time, but I go to the mailbox with the key and a SAK in my pocket. This could happen to anyone.

    Second guessing this hero is a crime. Just my opinion.
     
  30. kornphlake

    kornphlake Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    776
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    PNW
    I had the same thought, I think there's something missing from the report, or the facts presented are not accurate. The man phoned to let his relatives know his intention of leaving the truck, but didn't phone to let them know he was lost in a blizzard and freezing, there are too many holes in the report for me to judge what went wrong and what could have been done better.

    It's a tragedy that a child will now grow to maturity without a father, but the last gift he gave was the greatest gift a man can give.
     
  31. Jakuka

    Jakuka Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    332
    Location:
    North Carolina

    This picture is very telling. It also appears to be taken after the storm passed. I try to imagine what it must have been like to be there in the thick of it when the storm came pounding through with 68 mph winds and a 21°F temperature (-4 windchill). Giving those conditions, for every hypothetical reason that someone thinks they could have done better, I can think of another hypothetical reason such a plan would fail. I'm in awe of of the bravery and self sacrifice the man demonstrated for his daughter. What a tragedy....and what an amazing love.
     
  32. Twobiscuit

    Twobiscuit Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wyoming
    We occasionally lose someone here in Central Wyoming and most are found within 1/2 mile of their vehicle. With rare exceptions all would have survived had they stayed with their vehicle and we are all reminded by public service announcements every year
     
  33. chopchop

    chopchop Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    east coast of Kansas
    God bless that man and his little girl. This is heartbreaking.

    By the looks of the pic, the snow probably drifted up past the doors or windows on most buildings and even finding the difference between the street and a forested lot would have been difficult.

    I'm guessing the daughter couldn't go any farther, and he either couldn't carry her or he thought/hoped it would lighten up enough to find someplace better. I imagine it spiraled out of control pretty fast.
     
  34. vakman

    vakman Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Both fatalities in Boston during the recent blizzard were caused by people sitting in a car with a running engine. Unless you have a snorkel exhaust, never do that.

    For a few days, water is a concern but not an immediate one, so don't go boiling snow to drink. Priority is warmth.

    We don't know what tools they had. If there was some type of blade, my first move would have been to collect upholstery in as large a piece as possible for use as a blanket. Head rests get "skinned" to make hats, etc. But who knows, it could have been a harder plastic material, not sure.

    The windspeed was high, but the base temp not that low...I've slept in that with a fire and two wool blankets. Would like to think that in a snow-insulated vehicle, with use made of the available materials, they could have survived.
     
  35. rdec

    rdec Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    2,904
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    "when the pressure of life and death is on you have no idea what you would do"

    Here is where I have to disagree. The whole purpose of training (preparation) is so you DO know what you would do. Soldiers train for combat so they know what to do, and generally they will fight as they were trained to do. The real purpose of basic training is to keep you alive on a battlefield, if only because dead soldiers don't win battles.

    Firefighters train in a variety of real-life scenarios so they don't get trapped in a fire and know how to attack one. Some folks here attend classes, some just experiment on their own so they not only know what to do, but can do things like light fires in poor circumstances and make shelters etc.

    In general, what you do is evaluate the situation as it is, formulate a plan and execute the plan as best you can allowing for the fact that the situation may, and probably will, change to some degree, you then re-evaluate and so forth.

    I've been in more than a few dicey situations in my life, where death or serious injury was more than a remote possibility, enough to know I am not inclined to panic and that I constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the situation, changing tactics to suit. I must have been doing something right because I'm still here.

    There are situations where there is little you can do. Tornados are uncommon here but a few years ago a man was killed in his car when a tornado dropped a tree on it. The car was moving, and had the driver been going as little as 1 MPH faster or slower the tree would have missed him. That was one of those wrong place, wrong time situations and I doubt there is anything he could have done about it.

    If you want to say that I wasn't there in the situation cited, you are correct, I wasn't but this is what I know or can reasonably surmise. The road was not some remote, backwoods trail. If snow is not uncommon in the area then snowplows are in use. I am familiar with the difficulties of foot travel through drifted snow and am also familiar with the problems of wind chill and hypothermia. My inclination, especially if I was with a child, would be to stay within the shelter of the vehicle, out of the wind.

    The man was right, even heroic, in sheltering his daughter, but would probably still be alive had he stayed in the car. If you think me arrogant to say so, well .... I can live with that.
     
  36. oscartrucker

    oscartrucker Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    shelter

    there is no greater love than to give yourself for another rip
     
  37. Bartnmax

    Bartnmax Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    905
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    When I put up the original post I specifically said I woiuld rather this not become a finger pointing exercise.
    This thread should not be about bagging a very decent man whom gave his life for his daughter.
    It's about trying to get people thinking about what they would do in a similar situation.

    One thought a few people have posted is sticking inside the truck.
    That's probably ok as long as the motor is able to run & the fuel holds out, but using a vehicle for shelter in these temps without having a heat source is like sheltering inside a refrigerator.
    It can actually be counter-productive.
    Far better to make an insulated shelter of some kind & then work on getting a heat source organised.

    Please let's not bag this heroic guy. Let's look at learning from his sacrifice in a positive way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  38. Seniorman

    Seniorman Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    S.W. Idaho
    Speaking to the idea that for a short distance, even in a blinding blizzard, one can find his way home so long as he knows where it is. I am reminded of the many stories of the pioneers and ranchers and farmers of the early mid-west and west, who would string a rope from the front door of their house to the barn or an outbuilding. Living so close to the land, they learned to perceive when one of the "blue northerns" was going to sweep down out of the mountains and rage across the plains.

    This was done because in such a storm, it was not unusual for a man, woman, or child, to have to go to the barn to take care of livestock during the terrible blizzard, become completely disoriented on the way back to the house, and later be found only a few feet from the house, frozen to death. With the strung rope, one had only to keep it in hand and follow it back to the house, warmth, and safety.

    Those house-to-barn distances were much shorter than a half or three quarters of a mile.

    I've been disoriented once in a Colorado blizzard. I could not see ten feet in front of me.I did not know where camp was. Fortunately for me, my horse did. Got back to safety but I was lucky.

    S.M.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  39. EagleRiverDee

    EagleRiverDee Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Eagle River, Alaska.
    I won't say what he should have done, because I wasn't there. But it's a strong argument for carrying a good supply of emergency gear in your vehicle and for thinking on these things ahead of time so you have at least thought of different options.

    I agree with those who said this man is a hero.
     
  40. rdec

    rdec Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    2,904
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Lest we forget: the situation was described and the question posed was: what would YOU do in this situation?

    "That's probably ok as ling as the motor is able to run & the fuel holds out, but using a vehicle for shelter in these temps without having a heat source is like sheltering inside a refrigerator.
    It can actually be counter-productive.
    Far better to make an insulated shelter of some kind & then work on getting a heat source organised."

    I am more than casually familiar with wind chill, that's how my face got frostbitten. With dangerously low wind chills the important thing is to get out of the wind and stay out of the wind. This is even more important if you are inadequately clothed. Crack a window on the leeward side for ventilation. The snow drifting on the windward side actually provides good insulation and further protects from wind. A live person is equivalent to about 2 sq ' of radiator and it is surprising how much a couple of people in a closed, compact space will warm things up.

    I'll admit, I'm biased. I drive a small pickup that seats two so the cabin space is about half what the usual sedan will have. Moreover, I carry several cans of Camp Heat that in the low, heat, setting will burn for about 6 hours. A small metal box stove elevates the can off the floor and acts as a radiator. I also carry a quart pot that will melt snow while sitting atop the stove. In addition, a small candle lantern with a supply of candles provides both heat and light. I have no plan to run the engine for heat.

    I'm a skinny old guy who feels the cold more than I used to, so I am always adequately dressed. In addition, I carry two wool blankets and a sleeping bag in addition to about 3 days of food.

    While you are outside, in the wind, in a blizzard "making an insulated shelter of some kind & then working on getting a heat source organised" I'm retaining my energy, out of the wind and snow, sipping a hot beverage until a plow shows up. That is, unless you are planning on spending the rest of the winter there.

    If it is really necessary I also have a "get home bag" along with a pair of emergency snowshoes so I can leave the truck AFTER the wind has died down and the blizzard blows itself out.

    P.S. The rope stringing between building is the norm in Antarctica. There hasn't been new snow there for 10,000-some years but blizzards (windblown snow) are common and spring up with little or no warning. My old friend's nephew is one of the pilots flying C-130s supporting the Antarctic research stations. The "snow" is actually fine ice pellets. He tells us getting caught in a blizzard is like being in a sand blaster - those ice crystals are sharp.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  41. Takashi kajihara

    Takashi kajihara Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    1,516
    Location:
    Kochi
    Four victims passed away by carbon monoxide poisoning in the car at this tragedy.
    I surmise that Mr. Okada knew the danger.
     
  42. Whiskeyfox

    Whiskeyfox Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Florida
    The latest episode of Dual Survival has Cody and Joe with a stuck suv in below freezing temps. Cody tears out all the insulation to make the cabin smaller to retain heat and Joe lights a fire using the car battery and gas from the fuel filter... seemed like they showed a lot of good things to do in that situation.
     
  43. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    8,198
    Likes Received:
    1,300
    Location:
    Northern In. On the river
    This response has nothing to do with Mr Okada who as many have said is a hero .

    I notice all the time in the winter young people jumping out of their cars running into a gas station for a pack of cigarettes or something in shorts and bedroom slippers or something equally inappropriate . (temperature inappropriate that is )
    Seems like most of these kids have less then dependable cars and sometime have kids with them .

    Even tho our climate around here is nothing like Hokaido or Alaska I do remember people being trapped in blizzards many times around here . One time in particular in my teens about a hundred truckers trapped on highway thirty between Indiana and Pennsylvania .

    I had to pound it into my kids to dress as if their car would break down . In other words " what can go wrong will go wrong "

    Even tho there are about 300 k people in this county during a blizzard it can be a ghost town and you easily could be trapped a mile or two from help . I think a few guys have commented about buying surplus wool blankets not for camping but stick em in your cars trunk for emergency .
     
  44. Yetee

    Yetee Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Taylorsville, Utah
    Im not sure if anyone has made a comment on this but you should never leave your car idling when stuck in a blizzard. The exhaust fumes get trapped and you will die if CO/CO2 poisoning. I wonder if the other people that died in their cars left them running.... although -6 c is cold its not so cold that you would die if you could huddle together with a blanket or two. For me i would never leave a car in weather like that unless i was in more danger there than i would be venturing out, which is not likely. I could see going out to make a snow cave that may have more insulation than a car but the big killer was the wind im sure and he probably would have made it had he stayed in the car until the storm cleared. Its a terrible story that really emphasizes keeping blankets and basic winter gear in your vehicle durring the winter. It takes up almost no space and could save yours and someone elses life.

    I agree with everyone that he is still a hero regardless because there is no wayfor me to know what the situation actually was. He gave his life for his child and you cant ask for a better father than that. Im with everyone else that calling this mans sacrifice a fail is a bit disrespectful to his sacrifice. There very well could have been valid reasons for all of his decisions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  45. Takashi kajihara

    Takashi kajihara Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    1,516
    Location:
    Kochi
    Especially our having to think is that these victims were neither a tourist nor a foreigner.
    Mr. Okada was a fisherman at the area.
    I think that he also had the knowledge about the weather enough.
    But...It is said that nobody had experienced this blizzard.

    It is really difficult to prepare in the situation that cannot be forecast.

    2 years ago, our country cannot predict an earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown .

    Since their car was a delivery vehicle, I think that in the car was not warm.

    502ef641.jpg
     
  46. cellis

    cellis Post less. Do more. Supporter Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    5,085
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    TEXAS
    I saw this the night I was sleeping in my car and forgot until now. Have I not mentioned on here more than once Japan will kill you?! This country is 75% mountains and has some of the craziest weather patterns in the world. Last spring in April, 6 or 7 I think it was experienced hikers died in a couple hours or so due to a freak storm in different areas. Not one group but different areas and skill levels. The mindset is also such that why he both decided to push out of the situation and protect his daughter with his own life I can get. Everybody else is more important than you especially the children.

    Takashi knows it better than me probably since I don't watch the news anymore. But as he said this guy shouldn't have been in that situation being a local. But nobody saw this coming either. You just don't know here, it's scary like all the time basically haha.

    And yes he was in "kei" truck he would not stay warm in that no matter what. The metal on them you could stab through with a Mora knife easily.
     
  47. cellis

    cellis Post less. Do more. Supporter Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2011
    Messages:
    5,085
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    TEXAS
    Heh here's a pic a friend just now posted on FB coincidentally enough.

    [​IMG]
     
  48. highlander56

    highlander56 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    piedmont nc
    "
    agreed. it is all very easy to "armchair" analize this situation, and create an" after the fact" opinion; but we do not know the total thoughts and circumstances . yes, in hindsight we,armed with knowledge obtain beforehand would stay with the vehicle,etc. but i agree, this man did, to the best maybe of his knowledge, what was needed at the time and protected his child. God be with his loved ones.
     
  49. MAD 69

    MAD 69 Tinder Gatherer

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Margate, NJ
    It seems as if this guy did everything wrong except for saving his kid, I thought everyone knew the first rule of survival is to stay with your vehicle.
     
  50. Tundra

    Tundra Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2013
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York / Maine
    I thought the first rule of survival is to "stay alive". He didn't... but kept his daughter alive at all cost.

    If he stayed in the vehicle with his daughter, they would have froze to death. Have you seen the pic of the vehicle he used? It was an ice box. Rules should be flexible. It's not always prudent to stay with your vehicle. Sometimes, situations do not warrant it.

    Perhaps he could've made a shelter in the snow or find cover nearby. That must have been one nasty blizzard.
     

Share This Page