Man Writes ‘SOS’ in Snow, after Surviving Weeks in Remote Alaska

A man survived three weeks in the Alaskan Wilderness after his remote cabin burned to the ground. He was rescued last week by state troopers who saw ‘SOS’ written in the snow. In a news release Alaskan state troopers said that 30-year old man named Tyson Steele was found at a makeshift shelter Thursday, where his Cabin had previously been. This remote homestead was about 20 miles outside of Skwentna, which is located 70 miles northwest of Anchorage. Officials were conducting a welfare check on Steele after “several weeks” of no communication from him. They took a helicopter to the remote site and found Tyson Steele waving for help as well as an ‘SOS’ written in the snow.

The state police said that Steele had been surviving in the wilderness, inside his makeshift shelter since December 17th or 18th. The roof of his cabin had caught fire after Steele burned a “big piece of cardboard” in his wood stove. It was believed a spark from the cardboard had ended up on the roof, setting it ablaze. Steele had been living in his remote cabin alone since September.

As he was recounting the events with the state police after he had been rescued, Steele said he had managed to grab a handful of supplies from his burning home. Most of his possessions, including his six year old dog named Phil, did not make it out of the cabin. Steele told the state troopers “The fire is just a huge, massive grease fire. Every shovel of snow that I throw on it – I’m hysterical trying to put it out and it’s not doing anything. And I worked up into the morning, into the light trying to put out various sections of the fire.” 

Steele told the troopers that he was left with no way to communicate because of the mid-December fire. The 30-year-old was in a location where he had no working phone or map, as well as being surrounded by miles of forests, hills, rivers, and lakes which separated him from the road system. There was no snow machine he could use, and Steele’s nearest neighbor was nearly 20 miles away in a small community called Skwentna. Steele’s only way in or out of the wilderness was by air charter.