Trapped trucker survives hours in subzero temps

Thursday, January 09, 2014

A truck driver is back home in Florida after being stuck under his semitrailer for hours in subzero temperatures in Indiana.

Tim Rutledge of Orlando, Fla., says he crawled under his cab before dawn on Monday to fix his truck's frozen brakes at a truck stop south of Indianapolis. But the truck suddenly settled deeper into the snow, pinning him beneath an axle for nearly eight hours.

The 53-year-old says no one could hear him shouting amid the wind and running truck engines. What lead to his rescue is just as miraculous as his survival.

"That's the only morning he never really called me," said his wife, Lisa Rutledge.

Lisa, who was at home a thousand miles away in Orlando, sensed something was wrong and started calling Tim's cellphone relentlessly. The vibrations eventually shook it loose from his jacket. Still unable to reach the phone, Tim was able to dial using voice command.

"I said, 'whoever this is, whatever you do, don't hang up the phone,'" Tim said. "If they hung up the phone it was gonna be my last chance to talk to anybody."

Tim, not knowing who he called, had reached his supervisor who figured out his location and called for help.

Rescuers had to cut him out of his clothes, but Rutledge said he's never felt so relieved.

Rutledge said Thursday he has some numbness but shouldn't have long-term injuries. His doctor says another hour outside likely would've been fatal.

(The Associated Press contibuted to this report)

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