Authorities and family members baffled on how missing Superior snowmobiler survivedWestern Wisconsin News
-- Authorities and family members still cannot explain how missing snowmobiler Craig Friebe survived for two bitter cold nights on the Nemadji River in the Superior area.
SUPERIOR -- Authorities and family members still cannot explain how missing snowmobiler Craig Friebe survived for two bitter cold nights on the Nemadji River in the Superior area.
Bruce Friebe said his brother was in fair condition in the intensive care unit of a Duluth burn center, after a snowplow driver found him alive yesterday morning. Officials said 51-year-old Craig Friebe had obvious frostbite and possible hypothermia – and his brother couldn’t talk because he was under sedatives and medication.
Friebe was last seen with a group of ice fishermen on Saturday – and he later went snowmobiling before his machine ran out of gas on the Nemadji River. First responders said Friebe was incoherent when they found him, but he was still talking. He told them he built a fire to keep warm on Saturday night – but he had no such luck on Sunday night when it got down to 15-below.
State DNR warden John Krull said the wind-chills were deadly on both nights, and only a person with “top notch survival skills” could have made it. A plow driver found Friebe close to the shore yesterday near Oliver, about 20 miles southwest of Superior. Krull figured that Friebe ran out of gas somewhere on the Minnesota side of the Nemadji River, and then walked more than 20 miles. But Krull says he’s not sure why it took him so long to cover that distance, other than his rest at night. Bruce Friebe could only explain that God spared his brother and quote, “It wasn’t his time.”