Mount Shasta man survives in vehicle stuck in snow for 5 days

Feb 11, 2016 1:24 PM by David McVicker

One man is lucky to be alive after spending five days and six nights stuck in the snow in a remote part of Shasta County.

Paul D'Alterio of Mount Shasta was helping a hitch hiker on Jan 31 when he got lost and ended up stuck in the snow. What was supposed to be a day trip, turned into a six night battle for survival for D'Alterio who was misled by a sign like this one on his way back home after helping a hitchhiker.

“There are people that love me and don't want me to risk my life,” he said.

Those were Paul D’Alterio's first thoughts when he spun out and became stuck in the snow in a remote part of Shasta County after dropping off a hitch hike Sunday night.

“There was nothing indicating the road wasn't maintained,” he said.

D'Alterio saw a sign that read 31 miles to McCloud and figured it was the right road to take back to Mount Shasta until he drove eleven miles in.

“I spun out and realized ‘I'm here for the night,’” he said.

All D’Alterio had for sustenance was a bag of multigrain chips and granola bars. By day two he realized he wasn't getting out of the snow anytime soon.

“It took me 12 hours from sun up to sun down, moved 16 feet and got stuck again,” he said.

Out of cell phone range and unable to walk long distances D'Alterio spent the next six nights rationing what was left of his food supply. He used a plastic tablecloth to keep warm at night in addition to turning his car heater on so he wouldn’t freeze.

D'Alterio's situation would've made anyone lose hope but he said it was prayer that saved him. For the past 17 years D'Alterio has been involved with the Native American community in Siskiyou County, having gone days without food or water for rituals this was nothing new for him.

“It put me in the right frame of mind that it is an opportunity and not an ordeal,” he said.

D’Alterio's prayers were answered early Saturday morning almost one week after being stranded.

Someone driving along the road saw d'alterio .. and drove back to the main road to call for help.

“I was awake at 4 a.m. and saw lights,” he said.

All the lights, a ray of hope that he was going to make it out alive. People approached the vehicle.

“’Are you paul? (They asked) Yes? Grab your stuff.’ Oh, I was so grateful,” he said.

He said his experience was a lesson for him to follow his intuition, but his biggest lesson?

“Life is a precious thing,” he said.

D’Alterio said he is heading back down to big bend with a group of friends this weekend to dig his car out of the snow.


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