Much like Tom Hanks in Castaway (above) – substituting a snowy Alaska wilderness area to Hanks’ tropical deserted isalnd – Tyson Steele did what he could in the hopes someone would find him after his remote cabin burned.
It had happened suddenly, in the middle of the night on Dec. 17 or 18 — he lost track of the days, according to a detailed news release and interview with Steele published by the Alaska State Troopers. The 30-year-old homesteader from Utah made what he called a “hasty mistake”: He threw a large piece of cardboard into his wood stove fire. It sent sparks up through the chimney — and then, as he slept, the sparks landed on the plastic roof, Steele explained in his interview with authorities.
“It’s 1 or 2 in the morning, and I’d been awakened to a cold cabin, right?” Steele told the troopers. “… And drip, drip, drip — there’s fiery drips of plastic coming through the roof above me. So I go outside … and I just see that the whole roof’s on fire.”
That was how his 23 days trapped in rural Alaska began, as Steele scrambled to save what he could, watching almost his entire livelihood burst into flames. For three weeks, Steele would huddle in a snow cave and next to the remains of his wood stove, subsisting on canned rations — until finally, on Thursday, troopers from the Alaska Department of Public Safety rescued him.
The story is a fascinating read of how Steele (and his dog) survived the ordeal. Relieved that they are OK.