70-year-old with broken leg crawls 16 hours
MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- A Minnesota doctor is sharing his tale of survival after he fell into a deep ditch and became trapped by a boulder and then crawled for 16 hours to find help.
"So I had my eyes on the dogs, and one minute I was walking and the next minute I was falling and it happened that quick. Almost instantaneously I had two thoughts flashed through my mind. That I didn't have my cell phone, I knew that, and I knew this was going to be really bad," said Dr. Richard Olsen.
"Just to touch it, just more screaming," explained Dr. Olsen. "Just the worst pain I've ever experienced."
The 70-year-old used his gun as a crutch and with his arms and good leg hoisted himself out of 4 foot deep ditch. And then he fell back in.
"Got lodged between the boulder and the ditch," Dr. Olsen told us.
An hour and a half later, discouraged but determined, he was scooting the half-mile back toward the road. Thoughts of his family pushed him through until about 4 in the morning.
"About 4, I could really sense that I was losing ground," said Dr. Olsen. "I was falling asleep a lot."
If he was to survive, olsen needed a new game plan. Only 4 thoughts could enter his mind.
"If any other thought came I yelled no, and the 4 thoughts were bend your knee, dig in your heel, check to see if your gloves were on and push. And that's all I let in for the next 5 hours," Dr. Olsen said.
Around 8 in the morning, with frost bite on his fingers --
"These three fingers, they're numb till about here," said Dr. Olsen.
And in more pain than he can explain, he made it near the road. Several cars drove right by until truck driver Bryant Duncan stopped and provided blankets until paramedics arrived.
"He's my hero," said Dr. Olsen. "It was the most joyful time I can remember." Dr. Olsen told us, "Then he opened that door and all I did was blubber, but I blubbered please don't leave me."
Bryant has called Dr. Olsen daily to check in to see how he's doing. He's now being treated at MAYO -but Dr. Olsen is expected to walk again. More surgery could still be in his future.