Elderly Man Survives Five Days Stranded in Desert, Drinking Wiper Fluid to Stay Hydrated

  • Share
  • Read Later

They say people from the World War II generation are far tougher than any of us today. Henry Morello is proof of that.

Morello, 84, who lives in Anthem, Ariz., was reported missing last Tuesday and had last been seen near Cave Creek in suburban Phoenix, according to Associated Press reports. He wound up stranded in the desert when he took a wrong turn of Interstate 17. He made a U-turn, but got stuck in a ditch. Trying to make it on his own, he left his vehicle but the journey turned out to be futile and he returned. Not long after, both his cell phone and car batteries died.

(More on TIME.com: See the best pictures of the week)

With no water, and facing humid days, he drank windshield wiper fluid to ease his thirst. To protect himself from the near-freezing desert cold at night, he wrapped himself in floor mats. All the while, neighbors and friends who called Morello “Grandpa Hank” set up a search and rescue team to find him, but with no luck Finally, after five days, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office helicopter spotted Morello, still toughing it out.

Doctors at John C. Lincoln Hospital said Morello, who has diabetes and dementia, was in good condition considering his ordeal. “He is doing fantastic, and if you know Hank, he is a survivor. That is why he survived,”  Jim Sheehan, a friend who was part of the search effort, told KPHO-CBS 5.

(More on TIME.com: See the best cartoons of the week)