TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma man made national headlines last month following an amazing rescue after he fell through an icy creek.
For a month, he has been quiet about the bizarre situation he found himself in and the ensuing rescue.
For the first time, he is telling his story.
Zackery Aders wandered around in the woods for hours after running out of gasoline.
He soon found himself on a 26 mile trek near Tulsa, which left him nearly naked and barely alive on a freezing cold night.
Strumming his guitar, Aders said, “I actually thought about playing this when I was out there.”
And “out there” is exactly the way Aders describes his brush with near death.
He said, “The story actually starts out with some drugs.”
Aders is not shy about how he got into such a mess.
Following a fight with his girlfriend, he grabbed a bag of clothes and his guitar and took off down a country road.
However, he ran out of gas, which is when his crazy journey into the wilderness really begins.
Aders said, “I grab my bag and everything and started heading through this field.”
Whether it’s the cold, his activities from earlier that night or a combination of both, Aders says he started hearing things.
He said, “In my mind or whatever there are cops on the way.”
With his guitar and bag in tow, Aders took off through the woods.
He said, “I’m plugging though all these weeds and bushes and whatnot and ended up falling in a creek.”
Aders crawled out of the freezing water but his clothes were long gone.
“I hear bubbles or whatever ‘bloop, bloop, bloop,’” he said. “I look back and my bag sinks and my clothes and everything.”
Aders was soaking wet from falling into the creek and had no dry clothes to wear.
“I probably didn’t know how cold I really was,” he said. “So, I stopped and stripped my clothes off because I was soaked.”
And then Aders got an idea that most likely kept him from freezing to death.
“Just instinct told me to open the guitar case,” he said. “Sit my butt in it, pull my feet in and cross my ankles which retains body heat. I crossed my hands and kept my toes covered with my hands.”
In nothing but his boxers, he used his guitar case to shield himself from the frozen ground.
He said, “I hunkered down and crossed my chin and just sat there.”
Too cold to play his guitar, Aders started chanting to keep his mind off the cold and to stay awake.
“I start chanting like an Indian,” he said. “If I would have fallen asleep, that would have been it.”
His chants soon turn to cries for help and before Aders knew it, a couple of landowners found him and called an ambulance.
He said, “I realized if I don’t make it out of here, my kids are going to go without a father and that was my motivation to start calling for help.”
Aders said he still does not know exactly where he was that night, but he is glad to have his life and his guitar.