Local man rescued after being stranded in Alaskan woods

LANSING (WXYZ) - Adrian Knopps is a man who has survived some incredibly heavy storms.

The Lansing electrician was hunting in a remote part of Alaska in September.  Adrian and a friend had shot a grizzly bear and a moose.

Surrounded by mountains, there was no cell phone service.

They were stationed on a bigger boat, but to get to land, they took a skiff.

"For us to go back out to our big boat that was anchored in the harbor-- we decided I would step out on the beach and he would not be overloaded… off load the meat, and come get me, but he never came back," said Adrian.

His friend ended up drowning in the process.

Adrian was left stranded for seven days with two rifles and four Quaker Oats bars in his fanny pack.

"The berry season was done the salmon season was done," said Adrian.  "I could have shot geese… but I wasn't quite ready to eat raw goose."

Not only did he hardly have any food, but he had to endure three days of horrendous storms winds whipping up to 75 miles per hour.

"I could've went to the woods but I went over there every day for fresh water coming off of the mountains," said Adrian. "Every day you would see fresh wolf tracks and bear tracks.  We had just gotten a huge grizzly and I knew there were more and I knew there was a wolf pack."

Adrian told 7 Action News he constantly prayed to God.

"I started praying for the first hour and it was kind of an open line of communication.  I felt at peace.  I felt bad for my family at home," said Adrian.

At night, he would tie himself to a tree to prevent himself from sleeping on the ground. 

According to Adrian, the ice and cold water would have killed him.

On the 7 th day of being stranded, Adrian's foot went numb and he still has a little bit nerve damage.

"I finally laid down. I was exhausted," said Adrian. "I was laying there and hour when I saw the coast guard helicopter looking for us because the last three days was a horrendous storm."

He told 7 Action News, like you see in the movies, he was rapidly waving his hands at the Coast Guard's helicopter.

"You see the movie cast away with the soccer ball... I had a orange life jacket," said Adrian.  "I didn't talk to it.  I never went anywhere without it because it was the only color I had."

The rescue was surreal for the avid hunter.

"I think the first words out of my mouth were you've got to be kidding… because I was starting to lose a little bit of hope," said Adrian.

He believes what kept him alive was his faith in God. The experience has also changed the way he looks at life.

"It makes you look at things a little bit different.  It makes you a lot more patient with things because it makes you think that what makes people so uptight, they really don't mean that much at all," said Adrian.

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