Mitsutaka Uchikoshi, who is a Japanese civil servant says that he doesn’t know how he survived for more than three weeks in a mountain forest without food or water.
How It Happened
Mitsutaka Uchikoshi went missing on Mt. Rokko in western Japan on October 7, 2006, after a barbecue with colleagues. Rather than joining them for the return trip by cable car, the 35-year-old decided to walk down the mountain, but lost his way, slipped in a stream and broke his pelvis.
"On the second day, the sun was out, I was in a field, and I felt very comfortable. That’s my last memory, and I must have fallen asleep after that",
he said, shortly before being discharged from Kobe city general hospital.
When He Was Discovered
When a passing climber found him twenty four days later, Mr Uchikoshi’s body temperature had fallen to just 22C (72F), he had a barely perceptible pulse and he was suffering from multiple organ failure and blood loss.
The First Known Case Of Human Hibernation
Doctors who treated Mr Uchikoshi believe he lost consciousness after his fall and that his body’s natural survival instincts kicked in, sending him into a state similar to animal hibernation as the temperature on the mountain dropped.
Dr Shinichi Sato, who is the head of the hospital’s emergency unit, told reporters.
"He fell into a state similar to hibernation and many of his organs slowed, but his brain was protected. I believe his brain capacity has recovered 100%".
Amazing Survival And No Expected After-Effects
Doctors said they did not expect him to experience any lasting ill-effects.
Experts say it remains unclear how Mr Uchikoshi managed this extraordinary feat of survival with his metabolism almost at a standstill.
"This case is revolutionary if the patient truly survived at such a low body temperature over such a long period of time",
said Hirohito Shiomi, a professor at Fukuyama University.
Scientists have long said human hibernation is theoretically possible, and could potentially be put to use to slow cell death when treating brain hemorrhaging and other fatal conditions.