Search Crews are Calling One Man's Rescue "Miraculous"

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

69 year old Winston Bell was found Thursday morning about 5 miles from his home with an ATV pinning him down.

Two nights in inclement weather and suffering with diabetes and a heart condition, authorities say it's amazing he survived.

"There are so many times when people are lost like this, especially elderly people, Alzheimer’s or whatever, they wander out and they're not found," said Captain Jimmy Jones with the Eufaula Fire Department.

That's what Barbour County officials were expecting after searching two days for 69 year old Bell.

"Apparently he drove off on his ATV and he didn't return home. Yesterday about 8 am we received a call that he had not come back,” said Barbour County Sheriff Leroy Upshaw.

With more than 50 volunteers from around Barbour County, the search began Tuesday.

Bell lives on a large piece of property with a number of acres around him.

What put searchers on high alert is Bell's health.

He has diabetes and a heart condition.

"He was found off on some of his property, on a county road in Henry County, the edge of Henry County,” said Sheriff Upshaw.

Sheriff Upshaw says Bell was found around 10:30 Thursday morning by two brothers who knew the outlay of the area.

"He just said that the ATV a piece of ground caved in on him, an ATV flipped over on him and he was pinned underneath it, he actually tried to dig himself out with his car keys and get out from under it," said Upshaw.

“I don't really care who found him, it's amazing that he was found alive at this time, he had been out two days, two nights. It rained all day last night, temperature got down really low last night," said Jones.

With more people heading into the woods because of hunting season, Sheriff Upshaw says there are a few minor but often life saving tips to remember.

"Be careful, let people know where they're going to be. If they take off on their 4-wheeler or walking, just let somebody know where you're going to be and have a cell phone with you too.”

Bell was taken to the Barbour County Medical Center.

Officials say he was responsive and in remarkably good condition.

This is the 7th successful search and rescue involving Barbour County's Response Team.

They have only been active for the past three years.

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