Missing snowmobiler found after spending 2 days lost in the wilderness

CREATED Jan. 23, 2013

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SUPERIOR - A missing snowmobiler was found alive Monday morning after spending two nights in the cold, and Wisconsin authorities are calling it a miracle.

"Oh what an adventure; this guy's very lucky to be alive," said Battalion Chief Vern Johnson with the fire department in Superior.
What started as a simple ride on a snowmobile Saturday morning in Superior quickly turned into a life and death struggle for 52-year-old Craig Friebe.

On Sunday, several agencies scoured the area where Friebe was last seen on Saturday, until daylight ran out.

"We were fearing the worst,” said Johnson. “You know, there were some spots they call locations of interest where there was some fear that maybe he'd gone into the bay and into the water."
But luckily, and incredibly, Friebe was found alive. Rescuers say Craig was found here off of County Road W near the Nemadji River. A plow truck driver spotted him hunkered in the cold without any gloves on.

"Allegedly it was about 42 below out this morning out in that area where he was found so it was even quite a bit colder than in town and to have it be that extreme and have him make it was really a miracle" said Johnson.

A miracle worth sharing and a reminder to play it safe.

"Number one: don't go out alone,” said Johnson. “Going out alone is not good in any kind of severe weather, heat or cold or anything."

Friebe told rescuers he ran out of gas, so he started walking. He built a fire the first night, but was unable to the next night.

Rescuers say he was suffering from frostbite and hypothermia when they found him. He is now recovering in the hospital.