Hypothermia has taken a deadly toll in Minnesota during this dangerously cold winter, but a 28-year-old Austin man survived a night that could have been fatal when police found him outdoors early Monday morning.
The Austin Daily Herald reported that officers were in an area west of Austin’s industrial park when one of them heard a cry for help. They found the man in the deep snow. KAAL reported that he was not wearing gloves or a hat and had only a lightweight jacket. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature at the time was 9 below zero, or 23 below with the wind chill.
Police reports indicate the man was too intoxicated to tell officers how long he had been outside or how he got to the area.
“I’m pretty sure the outcome would not have been good had the officers not been there at 2 a.m.,” Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger told the newspaper.
The Rochester Post Bulletin reported that two officers and a Mower County sheriff's deputy carried the man into a squad car and he was rushed to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, where he is recovering. His condition is unknown.
Last week, the body of a 6-year-old Bemidji girl and the body of a 36-year old Motley woman were found in the snow outdoors. Hypothermia has been ruled as the cause of death in the two separate incidents.
Earlier this winter, a 54-year-old Embarrass woman and a 32 year old Lakeville woman both died of hypothermia, as did a 41-year-old man who was found under a porch in Virginia, Minnesota. Alyssa Jo Lommel, 19, the University of Minnesota Duluth student who was found outside in December after spending a night on a neighbor's porch, is recovering in her St. Cloud home after being hospitalized for months. Doctors had to amputate some of her fingers and part of her feet due to frostbite.
Drugs or alcohol were cited as a factor in some of the incidents.