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John in Alaska
John was a pilot that worked for the government, but he didn’t own his own plane. He lived in a small town in southern Alaska. He was told by the government to fly over the Ketchikan Mountains to take an important person and drop him off at another airport.
As he arrived at the airport he found his plane he had to use and it was old and the same type and model that was known to crash and had killed other pilots. When the important person arrived he told John that his name is Bob, Bob looked like he was about fifty years old.
There was not much conversation between John and Bob as they were flying over the mountains. Bob was already sleeping about ten minutes after they started flying. There were just trees, hills, and small lakes as far as John could see. After about two hours the plane started to rattle as if it would just fall apart. Bob quickly sat up in his seat like he was in a bad dream. Suddenly, the plane shut off, then it turned back on. Ten seconds later, it shut off again, John checked the fuel and it was three fourths full. Bob was panicking and John couldn’t start the plane. He tilted the front of the plane down a little bit so it would glide and not fall straight down. Then he locked it in auto pilot to keep it straight. Bob looked like he was having a heart attack, John tried to contact someone on the radio for help but there was just static. He walked to the back and got all the emergency items he could gather as quickly as possible, the plane was slowly getting closer to the ground.
John could only find one parachute. When he walked to the front Bob was laying there and he wasn’t breathing, John checked his pulse, now knowing he would only need one parachute anyway.
As John looked down to the clearing that he was planning to land in he noticed a small lake that was pretty close to the clearing. He checked to make sure he had everything he would need. He was very nervous and scared but he had to jump out soon. He had to force himself before the clearing was too far away, or it would be too late, so he closed his eyes and jumped. When he opened his eyes he was getting closer and closer to the ground. He pulled the string and gently landed in the soft grass.
John emptied the survival bag and looked at every item he had. He found a GPS and turned it on, it happened to be dead. He didn’t know where he was because he was so nervous and scared in the plane that he didn’t pay attention. He walked over to the tree line looking for shelter and found some dead branches he could use. He put the tarp from an emergency bag over the branches like a tent. He had about an hour of daylight left and it was starting to get cold so he built a small fire using a waterproof match, the last thing he wanted to lose in this situation was matches. He looked at the clouds and it looked like it would rain so he moved everything he could under the tarp and went to sleep.
He slowly woke up the next morning and the fire was out. He felt a little cold so he put on a coat. He thought of the probability that he would be saved, he knew the search and rescue would be looking for him because he was supposed to arrive at the next airport last night with Bob. He didn’t want to travel anywhere else because the closest town was north but he had no clue how far north.
He decided to go to the small lake he spotted in the plane. He walked through thick timber for about a hundred yards, the lake was further from the clearing than he thought. When he got to the lake he knew there had to be fish in it, if he made fishing pole he could probably catch some fish to eat, he also could boil water to drink. He went back to the tent to get string, a knife, and a container for water.
When he got back to the lake he put together a fishing pole and used grasshoppers as bait. After about an hour he caught three trout, they weren’t very big but it didn’t matter. He walked back to his tent and started a fire, he used a small aluminum plate from the emergency bag and propped it up with four sticks and used rocks to support the sticks. Then he thought of bears for the first time, he wouldn’t want to attract any with the smell of the cooking fish. He had no gun or any weapon so he would have to use fire. While he waited for the fish to cook he made a torch that he could use if he had to.
He took the first bite of fish and it didn’t taste very good but he had to eat it. When he finished the fish he needed some water but he had nothing to boil it in, so he found a small stump and carved a bowl out of it, then he put two small holes next to the top of the bowl on opposite sides so he could hang it over the fire to boil. While the water was boiling he thought he heard a helicopter, he stopped to listen, it sounded like it was getting closer, then he saw it but it wasn’t heading toward him, he quickly ran and did everything he could to be seen, he took his coat off and waved it around but the chopper was already out of sight. He had the same feeling he felt when he missed a chance at a big bull elk or deer when he was hunting but it was much worse.
He needed to be ready next time.
He woke up the next morning and gathered lots of green vegetation he could use to make a fire that put out black smoke when he needed to signal a chopper or plane where he was at, then he would use the aluminum plate to reflect sunlight that the pilot or passengers could see from up high. Then he went to the lake to get food and water. When he got to the lake he saw a bear on the other side eating berries from a bush. He guessed it might have smelled the fish, or it was just passing by. Whatever it was doing he didn’t want to disturb it so he got his water and gathered berries from a bush and left. As soon as he got back to his camp he started the fire and prepared his meal. The fish where almost cooked when he heard movement in the trees. He looked and the bear he saw earlier had smelled the fish, John picked up the torch and lit it in the fire. He waved it around and the bear stopped, it growled at him, then it walked away as if it were wasting it’s time. He hoped he would not encounter that bear again. Now he really wanted to get home to his family. It was hard to sleep and he kept his fire going as long as he could in fear that the bear would return.
He woke up to the sound of a chopper getting closer and closer. He sprinted as fast as he could to get in the open. Then he started the signal fire and made it as big as he could, next, he made a reflection with the plate and waved his shirt around. The chopper was slowing down as it flew above him. Then it landed and a young man stepped out to help him in. He had never felt this relieved in his life.