A 73-year-old Nova Scotia man was rescued by a Canadian politician in a blizzard, after being mistaken for a seal.
Gerald Whitman left his home in New Glasgow early on Monday morning on his way to the Pictou hospital for dialysis treatment. He found his regular route closed and drove along a detour instead.
However, after about 15 minutes the road got worse and even though Whitman was driving at only 30 kilometers per hour he missed a curve and plowed into a snow mountain.
As Whitman told CBS, “I couldn’t get out the driver’s door, so I crawled out the passenger door. I had my good mittens on, and my hat that has the ear [flaps], but I didn’t put them down because I didn’t think I was going to be very long.”
Before long, snow had gotten the better of Whitman’s car and the pensioner set out on foot on his way to a house he spotted in the distance.
As he explained, “I’d just listened to a CBC program stating that somebody had spent 11 hours in their car. I said, ‘I’m not spending no 11 hours in my car.'”
Due to the fact the snow was very deep, Whitman’s arthritic knees struggled to make it through the drifts. After he sat down for a break, he was unable to get up again and found himself stuck in the snow, slowly freezing.
Whitman explained that he crawled on his hands and knees as far as he could, “The first 10 minutes wasn’t too bad. but the next hour I was on my hands and knees. In spots where the snow was so deep, my knees and hands would just sink.”
At this point, the pensioner resigned himself to his fate, telling reporters, “After about an hour, I thought, ‘Well, if this is what it’s going to be, this is what it’s going to be.’ I made peace with the Lord and said, ‘If it be your will, so be it.’ And I just stopped. Apparently it wasn’t his will.”
As he began to drift off, Whitman spotted a figure walking towards him in the form of retired politician Charlie Parker who had seen Whitman while he was out shovelling snow.
As Parker told the press, “I thought it might be a seal,” adding, “I turned him over. It turned out to be a gentleman I knew — he had been my former banker.”
As soon as he realized his ex-banker was in distress, Parker picked the man up in a fireman’s lift and took Whitman to safety.
Despite saving the old man’s life, Parker remained very humble about his heroics, “I’m sure I didn’t do anything different than anyone else would have,” he said.