Alaskan Survives on Frozen Beer for Three Days While Stuck in Snowdrift

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Mike Mergen / Bloomberg News

Clifton Vial wound up stuck in a snowdrift off a rural highway in eastern Alaska, his truck lacking the usual survival necessities. All that lay in the back was a few cans of Coors Light, frozen solid. And as any college student knows: beer is food. Even the relatively bland Coors Light contains calories to keep a person functioning. Foodless for nearly 60 hours, Vial munched on the frozen beer. Bear Grylls would be so proud.

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Vial says he ate the beer like beans from a can. “I cut the lids off and dug it out with a knife,” he told the Anchorage Daily News. The 52-year-old lived off the ration of a couple of cans for more than three days while rescuers searched for him.

Vial had taken a drive late Monday night, getting stuck in a snowdrift 40 miles north of Nome. Far out of cell phone range and ill-dressed for the situation in tennis shoes, jeans and a cheap jacket, Vial huddled for warmth in a sleeping bag and shrouded his shivering feet in a towel. He turned on the engine occasionally to listen to the radio and get the heat flowing, but it was no match for the -17 degree temperatures. And by the third day, Vial’s gas gauge was toeing the “empty” line.

When he failed to show up to work Tuesday afternoon, the search was on for the missing man. It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon, nearly three days since his truck became lodged in the snowdrift, that a Nome rescue crew happened upon him. When towed safely back to civilization, Vial’s beer diet quickly hit the skids. He told ABC News he’s drinking a gallon and a half of water each day to rehydrate. Fortunately, his Coors binge wasn’t all that unhealthy – he didn’t even gain a beer belly. In fact, Vial lost 16 pounds while he lay stranded.

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