Senior survives 28 hours of hell in the woods

Police search for a 76-year-old man who got lost while picking blueberries in Quebec on Friday....

Police search for a 76-year-old man who got lost while picking blueberries in Quebec on Friday. (ROGER GAGNON/QMI Agency)

Jean Tremblay, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:53 PM ET

SAGUENAY, Que. — A harrowing survival story ended happily north of Quebec City, where passersby found a 76-year-old man who had survived 28 hours in the woods on a bucket of blueberries.

Edmond-Louis Girard, of Sainte-Rose-du-Nord, Que., got lost Friday while picking the blueberries near his home.

He walked 20 kilometres in the wrong direction and by nightfall, his bad leg failed him.

"I didn't know where I was," said Girard, who was located by ATV riders on Saturday afternoon. "At times, I heard moose and felt they were protecting me. I came very close to dying."

He managed to limp to a small cabin where he slept under the porch until daybreak.

Girard said he ate blueberries and prayed nonstop.

Meanwhile, wife Madeleine Duguay monitored the large-scale search operation from their daughter's house.

"Life is fragile," said Duguay, who will soon celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary with Girard. "I looked at my husband's photo with my daughter and I couldn't believe I would never see him again. I hadn't told him everything I had to say."

Girard says he wandered so deep into the woods because he was enticed by the plentiful blueberry crop.

"The further away I got (from home), the more blueberries there were," he said. "When I tried to come back, I went in the wrong direction."

Girard was so determined to bring his crop home, he still had 20 lbs. of berries in his bucket when police retrieved him.


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