Pair could stay on the run for months, expert says
It could be a long time, at least until the temperatures really drop below zero. — Dave MacDonald
A wilderness survival expert says how long two fugitives can survive outdoors in northern Manitoba will come down to their will and determination to stay alive and stay out of the hands of authorities.
Dave MacDonald, who runs the International Canadian School of Survival and served 19 years as a search and rescue technician with the Royal Canadian Air Force, says the length of time a person can survive comes down to the individual.
“It could be a long time, at least until the temperatures really drop below zero,” MacDonald said. “Then things start to go downhill quickly.”
Speaking to the Winnipeg Sun on Tuesday, MacDonald said there’s an abundance of food, including berries, fish, frogs and birds, and the ability to access drinking water in the area RCMP believe 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky are hiding.
MacDonald said the duo would be going through anywhere between 4,000-6,000 calories and between four to 10 litres of water per day if they were moving and working hard to evade authorities.
Providing the pair can find a way to purify the water, it takes away the risk of dehydration. The ability to make a fire is vital, he said, but could also give away their location. If they can make a stealth fire to minimize the smoke, they increase their chances of evasion.
That takes knowledge, he said. And there’s an element of luck, both to finding food and to evading police during the manhunt.
MacDonald said hiding in that rugged terrain wouldn’t be that difficult at all with camouflaged clothing, but said it’s hard to not be detected if they come out to any type of civilization.
“They could hide for quite a while, but chances are they’re like most people, will take the path of least resistance, and will probably try to hole up in a cabin with some food stores,” MacDonald said.
What will make it easier for both suspects is each other. MacDonald said one of the enemies of survival is loneliness and boredom.
“Having each other will make it so much easier,” he said. “Two people cuts the work in half. It doubles the odds of finding food. If one person is sick, you have someone to look after you.”