Oregon man rescued after 4 days in wilderness: “I didn’t think I - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon man rescued after 4 days in wilderness: “I didn’t think I was going to make it”

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Tim Marsh and Rusty Tim Marsh and Rusty
NEWPORT, OR (KPTV) -

A Newport, Oregon man is now safely at home after spending four cold days stuck on a logging road in the mountains, surviving only on dog food.

On Saturday, Tim Marsh left for what he thought would be a quick drive from Florence to Newport along with his dog, Rusty.

“I don’t know what happened, I got lost,” he told Fox 12’s Kelsey Watts.

He just moved to Oregon from Oklahoma and somehow got turned around on rural roads.  He ended up stuck on a logging road deep in the mountains with only a light jacket and Rusty.

“I ran out of diesel trying to keep warm the first night,” he said.  “The next day I was thinking, ‘I’ve got to get something to drink, my dog doesn’t have any water.’”

Rusty found a muddy puddle and Marsh tried drinking out of it too, but it made him sick.  He said he started licking pine limbs covered in rain drops for clean water.

As for food, all he had was a small bag of dog food in the truck.  He poured a bowl for Rusty and kept a few handfuls for himself.

“I was ready to eat tree bark if it kept me alive,” he recalled.  “I could at least do that for my family, try to stay alive a few more days.”

The Gulf War Army veteran said his survival instincts from his military training kicked in.  He broke off tree limbs and arranged pieces of hose that had been discarded in the woods to spell out the word ‘help.’  He wrote a note with his family’s contact information and even tried hiking out, but miles down the road he just found a dead end.

“I probably only would have been able to stay alive another day in those temperatures because I was wet already,” he said.  “My military training kicked in and I just did what my drill sergeants always taught me to do – stay by your truck, keep moving, keep screaming.”

But three cold nights and four wet days passed before someone finally yelled back.

“It was like God speaking to me, I tell you.  That was so powerful.  I was screaming on that mountain for three days and nobody would answer me,” he said.

It was a hunter who heard his cries Wednesday near rural Willamina and called the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, launching a search and rescue team.

Marsh was finally found cold, hungry and disoriented – but alive.

“When I saw him I fell to my knees and started crying,” he said.  “I didn’t think I was going to make it.”

Thursday, Marsh got to pick Rusty up from an animal hospital in McMinnville to be reunited for the first time since their rescue.

“[The dog] was the one who was telling me to take my medicine, and he was trying to show me where it was at, he kept taking my hand and bumping it down with his nose,” Marsh said.

Incredibly, the veteran and his dog were rescued on Veterans Day, and Marsh said he wanted to thank the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office and the hunter who found him.

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