Hockey Coach Ernie “Punch” McLean Survives 5 days on Creek Water

When I saw this today in the Vancouver Sun, I was astounded. It is not every day you hear stories of a seeming miracle. At 77 years of age, the legendary amateur hockey coach from B.C. gets lost in the wilderness, survives on only water from Creeks, and lives to tell the story. Here are some details from the Sun:

McLean, a legend in the B.C. hockey world and a part-time gold prospector, had gone missing Sunday afternoon while surveying a mining property in the remote region….And totally unprepared for what was about to happen. Wearing only a shirt and sweater — no jacket — and not having his emergency phone or GPS, McLean spent four nights in the remote wilderness sleeping under trees to keep as warm as possible.

“During the day, in the sunshine, I would remove my clothes and dry them out,” he recalled. “I would start walking at 6 a.m. and kept going for 12 hours.”

Without food, he survived on water alone from the various creeks he discovered. Fortunately, the only animal he encountered was a bull moose that shared a drink with him before running off into the bush.

Some may call him lucky to be alive. But i’m not so sure. After googling more about the situation, I came across this article from CBC sports which outlines other various miraculous survivor stories involving McLean. Could McLean be a real life hero a la Bruce Willis in “Unbreakable”?

Reed credited McLean’s legendary toughness, and a bit of luck, for his survival, noting McLean previously survived a plane crash in Saskatchewan, and walked out of the woods alive a few days later despite losing an eye and breaking several bones.

He’s also survived car accidents, being run over by a bulldozer and being stranded on a frozen lake in freezing conditions for several days.

McLean didn’t see any bears during his most recent ordeal, but he did have a few close encounters with some moose, Reed said.