81-Year-Old Survives After A Week Trapped In California Snowbank

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An 81-year-old man survived for a week in his car after being trapped in a snowbank along an isolated California highway at the end of February, his grandson says.

Jerry Jouret, 81, was returning home to Gardnerville, Nevada, Feb. 24 after spending some time in Big Pine, California, when he veered off the main road and found himself trapped in a snowstorm, according to CNN.

“He didn’t think the storm was going to be as bad as it was,” Jouret’s grandson, Christian, told the outlet. Jouret was about 30 minutes into his trip before he accidentally turned onto a side road and got trapped near Gilbert Pass. “And that’s when the blizzard hit,” Christian said. (RELATED: State Official Says People Trapped In Cars For Multiple Days As Winter Storms Continue To Batter East Coast)

Jouret miraculously survived the incident, reportedly sustaining himself on croissants, candy and biscotti before the California Highway Patrol were able to retrieve him nearly a week later, according to CNN. Jouret was then transported to a medical facility, but apart from mild dehydration, he was shown to be in good health, Christian said.

“He was released within a few hours to go back home. He was in incredible health — the vitals were looking great,” Christian told the outlet.

Rescuers reportedly struggled to reach Jouret due to adverse weather conditions in the state. As days went by without a rescue, Christian told CNN he prayed for better weather so that his grandfather could be saved.

“I prayed about it hard, prayed that the weather would change, and the next day it was the most beautiful day we’ve had in weeks,” he said.

Jouret reportedly kept warm by using a light quilt and a hotel bath towel, and he would occasionally roll down his car window to eat snow, according to CNN. When rescuers finally did reach Jouret, they had to hoist him out of the snowbank via a helicopter, something his grandson said was an exciting experience for the Air Force veteran.

“He had never ridden a helicopter,” Christian told the outlet. “The pilots had said he was smiling the whole way to the hospital.”

Jouret is now safely home with his wife of 56 years. “I’m glad they’re back together,” Christian told the outlet.