Missing local man survives for 10 days on dew, bugs


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

CARLISLE COUNTY, Ky. — A man missing for 10 days told rescuers he drug himself to safety.

A plaid, long-sleeved shirt was all he had. It was a last hope when Anthony Aldrich ripped it off, tied it to the longest stick he could find and tried to flag down help.

Help was close. Within a few hundred yards, there was a highway and even a house. It was close but for the man who had broken his leg in two places, it was too far.

When Anthony Aldrich set out from his home May 24, the only thing he had been after was a little fresh air. But a slip and fall near a creek would turn into a desperate fight to survive.

Just before 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon, 10 days after Aldrich went missing, a farmer heard his cries and called for help.

Aldrich was found in a cornfield off of Kentucky Highway 408, outside Cunningham and just a mile from his home.

Sheriff Steve Perry said Monday, "The real incredible thing is his will to live."

Wayne Floyd, the county's ambulance director, helped treat Aldrich. He said Aldrich received what is called a "tib fib" fracture. It meant the two bones directly above the ankle were broken, making mobility nearly impossible and extremely painful.

"He would have either collapsed or gone into shock trying to walk on it. It probably kept him from going into shock," he said of Aldrich's choice to crawl.

And what he crawled through helped him survive. He ate bugs and drank dew collected on the corn stalks. Later, he used them to stay warm at night.

"He kept going," Perry said. "He had a goal to make it out alive and he met that goal."

Those treating Aldrich said he also had a severe sunburn and bug bites covering his body.

He will need two surgeries but his mother said he is expected to make a full recovery.

We have no word yet on when he will return home from Vanderbilt Hospital.