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Man survives four winter months lost in Andes

Raul Fernando Gomez Circunegui found alive in the Andes Mountains after his motorcycle broke down in May.
By KRISTEN BUTLER, UPI.com   |   Sept. 9, 2013 at 10:44 AM  |  Updated Sept. 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM   |   Comments

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- A Uruguayan man who disappeared in May attempting to cross the Andes Mountains from Chile to Argentina has been found alive after surviving four harsh winter months.

Raul Fernando Gomez Circunegui got lost crossing the mountains on foot after his motorcycle broke down.

Argentine officials out recording snow levels discovered Gomez Circunegui in a shelter 2,840 meters above sea level. After the shelter had run out of leftover supplies, he subsisted on sugar, rats and raisins.

Gomez Circunegui lost 44 pounds during his winter isolation, and was found to be dehydrated.

"The truth is that this is a miracle. We still can't believe it," San Juan governor Jose Luis Gioja told the local Diario de Cuyo newspaper.

"He's a patient with high blood pressure, a history of smoking and signs of undernourishment," the doctor said, but added that "he's going to be fine and in a few days we're going to discharge him."

"We let him talk to his wife, his mother and his daughter," Gioja said. "I asked him: 'Are you a believer?' He told me, 'no, but now I am'."

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