Elderly man buried in snowbank survives on croissants and biscotti

Rescuers first mistook buried car for a rock

Some California residents have been stranded for more than 10 days due to snowfall. Getty / AFP
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An 81-year-old man in California, stuck for six days in his car under a snowbank, managed to survive by subsisting on a diet of croissants and biscotti, US media outlets have reported.

Jerry Jouret was driving from Big Pine, California, to Nevada when his SUV got stuck in a snowbank on a smaller road, forcing him to take creative steps to keep warm and survive off a small amount of provisions.

The former Nasa employee and mathematician only ran the vehicle in small bursts and layered his clothes to keep warm. He also occasionally opened the car window to hydrate by eating snow.

“He was surviving on snow, croissants and biscotti,” his grandson told the BBC. “The whole thing was just a miracle.”

More than a dozen people died in the rare snowy weather that hit California, reports say.

Mr Jouret's situation seemed dire when his car battery died three days into the ordeal, but he managed to stay alive until he was rescued by regional police and was helicoptered to hospital.

Inyo County Sheriff's Office said a helicopter found the stranded car, which was first mistaken for a rock, after a mobile phone signal was traced to an area along Death Valley Road.

“Within a short period of time, they identified a vehicle partially buried in snow,” the sheriff's office said in a statement.

“When the crew made their way closer for inspection, a window was lowered and a person began waving from inside the vehicle.”

US President Joe Biden on Friday approved an emergency declaration for California, clearing the way for federal assistance to help local agencies.

The state is expecting even more rain and snow at the weekend in a storm forecasters have called the “pineapple express”, as it is bringing warm, subtropical moisture from Hawaii.

Updated: March 10, 2023, 11:22 PM