A Swedish man survived for more than two months in a snowbound car in temperatures as low as -22F (-30C) thanks to an "igloo effect". Peter Skyllberg, 44, was found on Friday by a passer-by near the northern town of Umea, just south of the Arctic Circle, He had been snowed into his car since at least December. Doctors explained that outside temperatures had been below -22F (-30C) over the period Mr Skyllberg had been in the car, but air trapped around the vehicle had formed a natural igloo. "It's not possible for humans to hibernate like a bear does," Dr Ulf Segerberg, the Chief Medical Officer at Norrland's University Hospital, in Umea.
"If you cool the body, of course the metabolism slows down, but I don't think he would have survived if that had happened. In the car he had very warm clothes, he had a warm sleeping bag, and as the car was snowed under, that would have made it more like an igloo. Down below the snow, you would normally have a temperature of around zero," he said. Dr Segerberg said it was not unusual for someone to survive such a period of starvation. "Starvation for one month, anyone can tolerate that if they have water to drink," said Dr Segerberg. "If you have body fat, you will survive even longer, although you end up looking like someone coming from a concentration camp." He estimated that Mr Skyllberg could have lost more than three stone of his body weight over the period.
Earlier police reports suggested Mr Skyllberg was in "really bad shape" when he was found. He conceded that it was incredibly rare for someone to survive for so long outside in the cold Swedish winter. "This is a case in a lifetime. Every winter we have people who have frozen to death. But a case like this, with someone caught outside for such a long time, is very rare, because it's very rare that you are not missed by anyone, which seems to be the case in this instance." Mr Skyllberg has so far declined all requests for interviews about his ordeal. "The patient only wants it to be known that he is feeling well and is being well-treated in the hospital," the hospital said.
Mr Skyllberg has already been moved into an ordinary ward, and is conversing with nurses and other patients. He is likely to be released within days. Mr Skyllbrg's neighbour meanwhile said he was a "loner" who disappeared after a failed business venture left him mired in debt. "He had got into a lot of debt, and he couldn't pay his bills, and then he just disappeared," said Magnus Jernberg, Mr Skyllberg's neighbour in Karlskrona, Sweden. "It was a bit of a joke for us. We said 'Oh, I think they just found Peter'. And then it was Peter." The local court late last year ordered for Mr Skyllberg's properties to be seized, after he was unable to pay debts of 1.6m Swedish Kronor (£150,000). According to a neighbour who spoke to Sweden's Aftonbladet, Mr Skyllberg's girlfriend had left him by the time he disappeared.
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