How did an autistic man survive without food or water for 50 hours in heat and humidity of the Adirondacks?

The ordeal started innocently enough with 29-year-old Bruce Williams leaving his family's camp on a bicycle to enjoy a swim on a hot and humid Summer day. And that's what makes the story even more miraculous, surviving the heat and humidity we've been experiencing without food or water.

Bruce's adventure began early Saturday afternoon. It wouldn't end until Monday at 5pm when Forest Rangers from the NY DEC found him, some 3 miles from his family's camp on Pinnacle Road in Bleecker. He was sitting near the shore on the East Side of Chase Lake. What happened during the 50 hours and how did he survive? The answers may never be known for sure, as Bruce's autism disorder makes communication difficult.

An article in Albany's Times Union credits his Boy Scout training from when he was a young child with saving Bruce. Rather than taking a dip in the nearby creek, he decided to find a lake for swimming. He became lost in his search and survived by floating in streams and lakes to stay cool and keep hydrated. He also recalled it was important to stay in the open when possible to be found.

The DEC reported the effort grew into 75 searchers, including 13 Forest Rangers, 13 Federation and Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue members, and 37 volunteer firefighters and members of the Fulton County Sherriff's Department. Bruce was found with only minor scrapes, bug bites, and sun exposure.

Read more about his adventure and how he survived in this Times Union article. If you didn't believe in a higher power before, this story will make you rethink your philosophy. The map below shows how far Bruce was from camp and the terrain he conquered.

Bleecker to Chase Lake Map
Google Maps

SOURCE: Times Union and NY DEC


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