You can hear Henry Heilinger describe his experience in the woods by tuning into Edmonton AM Thursday morning
What started out as a day trip to a rural property in northern Alberta last Thursday turned into a struggle for survival for one elderly man.
Henry Heilinger, 86, and his 93-year-old friend were driving in a small SUV to view some property near Grande Prairie owned by the old man when the pair became stuck on a muddy and remote road.
Heilinger's friend, recognizing he was in better physical shape, told Heilinger to stay with the vehicle while he went for help.
"He told me, 'You stay right here, and I'll be back around six,'" Heilinger said.
Hours passed until Heilinger, worried for his friend, began walking as the sun was setting.
Heilinger grew exhausted, falling down and at one point lying down to rest.
"I had a hard time to walk, but I forced myself because I knew if I didn't get out it was the end."
Meanwhile, his 93-year-old friend was already back in Grande Prairie, having been picked up by a local resident who recognized him and drove him home.
Once rescued, the older man forgot entirely about his still-lost friend.
"It was only the next morning when he woke up that he remembered he left me in the bush," Heilinger said.
The friend, a retired Mountie himself, called RCMP who began an immediate search of the area.
After nine hours of heavy rain and mosquitoes, Heilinger was located by a separate searcher while walking down a cutline.
"I prayed and my first idea was my prayer was listened to," he said.