Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movement In Survival-I Shouldn't Be Alive Review Lessons

Movement will catch your eye quicker than unusual colors.
I enjoy watching survival shows. Last night we watched an episode of "I Shouldn't Be Alive" on the Discovery Channel. The hour long reenactment of a treasure hunter (looking for surface gold with a battery powered metal detector) in Australian outback was rife with educational material.
The man says good by to his wife in camp, and drives off with his two buddies. He leaves the GPS unit in the jeep because their plan is to head in different directions, and navigate back to the jeep via sun.
The sun disappears behind cloud cover, he looses all track of time. His buddies make it back, but he gets disoriented and starts wandering around, trying to find the jeep.
Night falls, the wife radios the waiting buddies, no sign of the husband. A search begins for this man, who continues to wander, dispite the well known adage: when lost, stay put to enable your rescuers to find you.
The story unfolds as he finds a fence. One direction leads to a village, the other farther into wilderness. He chooses, hikes until he runs out of fence. Its dark, so he hikes away from the one known variable, finding rocks to camp in. Again, come morning, he begins wandering around, has no water, day three he drinks his own pee.
Search planes fly overhead but can not see him because his clothing is desert blend. Lesson: wear some contrasting color when hiking in the desert. He feels sure they will see him, standing there with hands raised.
Movement would have helped a great deal here, or using his watch to reflect to the pilot.
The plane makes several passes, flies away, and returns several times. He should have realized he couldn't be seen. A way to signal in this case is to get in an open area and line up stones or vegetation in an SOS pattern.
We see that he has a knife, its bone dry, but he never attempts to build a fire. Several things we are shown could have been used to attempt this. If nothing else, he would have been stationary, and the 70 people searching for him, including aborigines, trackers, people in jeeps and ATVs, would have finally caught up to him.
He eventually discards his pick, yet continues to tote the metal detector.
After nearly a week, he takes to a small cave, planning to die. Now, he is totally undercover.
Watching this show teaches problem solving. We learn that creating movement, contrasting color, being visible, staying put, having some outdoor skills, and being prepared for the possibilities of becoming Lost, would have helped this man have a much quicker rescue.
Had he stuck to the fence, and just walked back the other way, a self rescue would have been very likely.
Movement works for and against us. If you want to hunt food, staying put until the creatures begin to move is important. Its hard to run down a meal, let them come to you.
Movement can give away your position, or aid in rescue.

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