Pair could stay on the run for months, ex­pert says

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Scott BILLECK Post­media

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.”

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