Oregon Man Who Was Lost In Woods Said He Ate Bugs, Drank Urine To Survive

Harry Burleigh was lost in the woods for 17 days before he was rescued on May 23, 2021.

Photo: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Harry Burleigh had one goal in mind while he was fighting to survive in the woods: to see his wife and family again.

Now, the 69-year-old fisherman is breaking his silence about the turbulent experience he had back in May, where he was lost for 17 days in the Oregon wilderness. Burleigh told media at a press conference about the harrowing experience nearly two months after the ordeal.

The Roseburg, Oregon man said the incident started when he was out fishing in the Toketee area. Burleigh cut his trip short due to the wind but decided to explore a trail. By the time he realized he should head back, it got dark.

Not only did he not have cell phone service and no essential supplies, but no one knew where he was. That's when he realized he would be there overnight.

"He found a log and cleaned it out. He got bark and laid it down so that he wouldn't be on the ground," KPIC wrote. "He didn't sleep because it was so cold. He got up and was greeted with snow."

Hours soon turned into days, and Burleigh tried everything he could to let rescuers and helicopters know where he was: sweater waving, smoke signals, getting to higher ground. But during his journey to get to higher elevations, he fell multiple times, got injured, and even fainted from dehydration.

Reporters said the fisherman drank his own urine, saved snow in a baggie, sipped water off leaves, and even ate bugs just to survive.

Burleigh eventually thought he was going to die in the woods, but he had no fear.

That is until he heard a "bellow" one day.

"He calls the man who rescued him 'Guffaw Man.' He says the man had eyes of compassion," reporters wrote. "Rescuers asked him what he'd eaten? He recounted millipedes, scorpions, crawfish, a snail."

Rescuers hurried to where Burleigh was and rushed him to a hospital on Sunday, May 23. Reporters said he spent 12 days in intensive care and another three in the hospital so his condition could be monitored. Most importantly, he was reunited with his relieved wife and son.

Despite doctors having concerns for his feet and gall bladder, Burleigh said his "life spark" was filled from the wild incident.

If you want to read more about Burleigh's travails, click here.

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