Skip to comments.Man Survives Six Days in Auto Crash, Family Searches and Finds Him
Posted on 10/01/2011 10:56:13 AM PDT by Auntie Mame
David Lavau, age 67, missing for six days, was found alive and well by his grown children who formed their own search party to find their father. They reported him missing to the authorities after he'd been missing for five days and on the sixth day formed their own search party.
The children drove the desolate stretch of road they suspected their father had driven, stopping at the dropoffs calling their father's name, and at one place they heard a faint, "Help, help," and amazingly, it was their father! The state of his car after plunging so many feet was enough to make them realize it was lucky he even survived the crash, much less surviving for six days, alone at the bottom of a ravine with broken bones and listening to the sound of cars passing by just beyond reach.
But that is not the end of the story.
Alongside his car was another crashed car which was from a completely separate accident and contained a badly decomposed body.
There are a lot of articles available, from many sources.
This is a good article:
And here are some others:
Nice to see our emergency services are on their toes. /s
“Alongside his car was another crashed car.”
Sounds like they need a guardrail there.
God bless the kids. Speaks well of them AND of dad.
It wasn’t till someone actually went over the side of the Mackinaw bridge that authorities started wondering about other people who went missing between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.
Sounds like a Twilight Zone Episode. At the end they would pan over to the other car with the dead guy in it.
Thanks for posting the TV report. Being local, I wanted to know where this was. Those mountains are steep and treacherous. It’s a miracle he survived. I wouldn’t diss Search & Rescue, tho. It’s wild in there.
Sure hope they squared this with the rescue workers’ union.
I wish I could have found better video and everyone could see the interviews I was fortunate to see right after it happened. The emotions of the man’s children were so real, with no camera self-consciousness.... very unusual to see this on TV. Plus they seem like a wonderful close family.
And the story has everything: mystery, a quest, deductive reasoning, self-reliance, father and children, miraculous survival, and a surprise ending.
Just a reminder folks, don't count on Government.
Did they say who belong to the other car. I wonder if that person died on impact or just died alone starving to death.
News writers today really suck.
My pet peeve are stories that mentions someones name three-quarters into the story so you re-read at the start to see who they’re talking about and there’s nothing there.
He was an 88 year old man who had also been reported missing by his family -- but he was from a long way away. Apparently he simply kept driving until he drove off the road. Family said he had no earlier signs of dementia, he may have just been really, really lost.
Probably he went over some time earlier, since the body was badly decomposed and they had to contact family via the VIN on the car.
On a somewhat macabre note: The surviving man lost his glasses in the crash and took a pair of glasses from the dead man so that he could see to find water. You do what you gotta, and I'm sure the dead man wouldn't have grudged his glasses to help the other man survive.
On a road he traveled?
I would have been out looking on that road in just ‘hours’ not days.
A similar story happened to my relatives in Oregon, without the happy ending. My cousin called to say he was on his way home and never made it. Since he was in his forties and not a cute kid the cops took one ride along his route and called it off. Relatives found him a week later after walking along the road.
Thank you. I thought it odd also that the family waited six days.
I’m sure your right.
sometimes fate is a funny (not ha ha) thing.
At least he didn’t suffer.
They didn’t know who had died in the other car, but as is mentioned by another Freeper above, and wasn’t known at the time the man was rescued and the first news report came out, it was an 88 year old man who had been reported missing 10 days before.
is a very good two page article that gives more information on the 88 year old man, but this information was just recently known, it took them a while to figure out who he was.
Actually, they WERE on their toes. No one knew where he was, he could have taken a trip to Las Vegas for all anyone knew. But his children didn’t report him missing—didn’t even figure out he had been missing—until the fifth day.
Once the children found him, emergency services jumped on it and he was whisked away to a hospital.
I love a happy ending. ; - )
Imagine if these were each DUI’s, by the time any attention was paid, there’d be no evidence.
Michael Hedges, the guitarist, was found dead days later by a road crew after he went over the side ...
and one from my town just 3 weeks ago ...
Trapped and Dying, Kerrville Man Writes His Will on Car’s Console
Each one of the children thought the other had spoken to him, I think he had four kids, and it took a while for them to all get together and realize none of them had seen or heard from him.
I think of it as like child 1 calls and leaves a message, talks to child 2 mentioning in passing that they'd left a message for dad and hadn't heard from him, child 2 calls dad and leaves a message, and so on until they all realize no one has seen or heard from dad for a while. Then they take a day to mull it all over, go over to his house, look around, have another family conference, and the next day they file a police report and start getting serious.
But what a great story. And with a happy ending, at least for them.
Wow. Great stories, too bad the guitarist didn’t make it and glad to see the Kerrville man did.
I once knew a man who said he had been trapped in a car, I think he said it was for about six days before he was found. I was never sure if it was true, but after reading all these stories I now think it must have been. It seemed to define his life up to that point and he talked about it a lot.
Oh, that’s awful. I hope he didn’t suffer. For those of us who live in cities or suburbia, the fact that there is barren, desolate land in America, and so much of it, is hard to wrap our minds around.
“Sounds like a Twilight Zone Episode. At the end they would pan over to the other car with the dead guy in it.”
Can’t be, it has a happy ending.
A twilight zone episode would have them switch bodies.
or at the very least a payphone.
I’m assuming you’ve never ridden mountain roads out west? And are not aware of how extensive the ‘guardrail’ would have to be? Those roads are built into the mountainside, narrow lanes, sharp curves, with no room for error, straight down drops of hundreds of yards. Sure put this easterner’s heart in mouth. Spectacular views, tho.
Thanks Auntie Mame.
Cue Paul Shanklin: “In a Yugo”.
Oh, sure, they can’t guardrail the whole thing. But this must be a bad spot, if two cars went over in the same place.
I remember driving along the French Riviera many years ago, and they only had selective guardrails. That was pretty scary, too, especially if you met a bus coming the other way. But great views.
Actually the dirt roads in our vicinity here in Vermont have similar problems, if not so dire. Deep drainage ditches where the car is certain to flip, and steep downhill verges. They can only afford to put guardrails on the worst bits, but that’s better than nothing.
“For those of us who live in cities or suburbia, the fact that there is barren, desolate land in America, and so much of it, is hard to wrap our minds around.”
the Bureau of Land Management says that only 4.3 percent of the US is developed.
America is profoundly empty of people.
There is a lot of it. I live in a very remote area where a lot of tourists come to visit and every year some of them disappear. They just found the skeletons of some German tourists missing for over 9 years.
Yes. They seem to be life-changing experiences for those that live thru them. None of us get out of this world alive but those that come that close to losing everything seem to find an appreciation for life the rest of us don’t quite understand. I like the ones where they live thru it much better. ;o)
Don’t know as I’d be so hasty to judge ! There’s recently been two such incidents on a major E-W national corridor in NJ ! In one the only reason the wreck was discovered was a driver stopped to relieve himself.....
Regardless, the devotion and actions of his family speak well of and for the man ! They “worked the case” in the best traditions of police/rescue; and succeeded ! He has a family to be proud of ! >PS
This reminds me of something that happened within a couple of miles of my home over thirty years ago. A young man failed to show up for work and no one saw him for three or four days. His family started looking along the roads he might have driven and the car was found in thick bushes just a few feet down from the road surface. There is a creek there which is the county line and he had come down a grade leading into a left hand curve where the road crosses the creek and there were skid marks where he had left the road in his Corvette on one side of the creek and landed in the bushes on the other side in the next county. I happened to come along as the body was being retrieved from the car.
The story I heard later was that he had been up all night at a card game and had left the game when he suddenly realized he was going to be late for work and was driving fast trying to make it to work on time.
Naturally, the worst curves offer the best views .. and I noticed in CA, where possible, they have those pull-overs for viewing at those points. Adding to the fun/excitement of a Western US mountain drive is that easily half of all vehicles are huge mobile homes.
We had a case like this one in my area a few years ago. Young guy was coming home one night along his usual route, went off the road next to a bridge, noses down into the bottom of the creek and the car flips over showing only the dark underside of the car. Guy drifts in/out of consciousness for a week before he comes to long enough to unbuckle himslef and crawl up the creek bank where he’s finally seen by a passing motorist.
His family had reported him missing right away, but cops said he’d probably gone out partying or chasing tail or ran off. If the people that had supposedly “looked” had acutally looked over the side of the bridge they’d have seen him.
He wasn’t missing in some wildnerness area, but right off US 295 near DC.
An acquaintance of mine was rushing to work on a Monday morning after a holiday, the company policy being no vacation pay if you miss the Monday afterward. The guy had perfect attendnace. Excellent worker. Long history with the company. He tried to be a freight train but lost the race. Left a wife and two children behind.