Colombian university director Francisco Piedrahita is recovering in hospital after surviving for four days in a Louisiana swamp without eating or drinking anything, local newspaper The Times-Picayune reported Thursday.
Contrary to certain reports, his doctor, Dr. Robert Chugden, stated that the distinguished Colombian academic had not been surviving on foliage or swamp water, but instead had confined himself to one spot without any sustenance for the four days he was missing.
Piedrahita reasoned that staying in one location would be his best chance of survival, drawing praise from searchers, and elected a small island in the middle of a swamp where he was knee-deep in mud the whole time.
The professor fortunately managed to avoid the more predatory creatures of the Jean Lafitte National Park, such as alligators and snakes, with only the persistent mosquitoes causing him discomfort and preventing him achieving more than a few minutes of sleep at any one time.
Dr. Chugden said that “he is in surprisingly good shape after having been stuck in the swamp so long without food or water,” although he will remain in hospital a few days as he becomes rehydrated.
The doctor expressed his surprise that the professor had not had any survivalist training, while a park ranger involved in the search labelled him “a warrior, he is a trooper.”
The professor had got lost while trying to photograph a particular migratory bird, a fact that helped lead to his discovery when a park official was able to identify where he might have gone to search for it.
There have been suggestions that the trail he was following was poorly marked, causing Piedrahita to lose his way on Saturday 21. When he did not return after a few hours, the taxi driver waiting for him raised the alarm with park officials.
“He was only supposed to be gone for 25 minutes, and we cannot imagine what happened. He’s always on time; he’s always very predictable,” said his sister-in-law.
“He’s one of those people who has to have everything so clean and orderly,” she said. “But out there he became Rambo to survive.”