Grand Ledge Man Rescued After Being Stranded 8 Days in Alaskan Wilderness

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

"You have to want to live."

-- Adrian Knopps, stranded for eight days in Alaskan wilderness

Adrian Knopps spent eight days waiting for his hunting partner to return after they killed a bear.

But he never came back.

Adrian Knopps, 51, from Grand Ledge and Garrett Hagen, 25, from Alaska were bear hunting near Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska.

The two men had successfully caught a grizzly bear just a couple days into the trip.

Hagen set out on their small boat to take the freshly caught game back to their main boat and had planned to come back to retrieve Knopps, but never did.

For eight days Knopps said he had to look within himself to find the strength to carry on.

"You have to want to live," Knopps said. "I knew they had to find me before they found my friend and I had to be able to tell them what went on."

Knopps said during all that time he never sat down and never slept and survived eating only a few granola bars. He also suffered severe hypothermia.

"It rained for seven days, for three days winds blew between 50 and 80 mph and there was no shelter," he said. "I knew what I had to do to stay alive for the moment and did what I did."

The coast guard rescued Knopps Sunday and rushed him to a nearby hospital in Ketchikan.

Knopps' parents are thankful to know he's alright but his mother Elsie said it's also bittersweet.

"We find it really hard to be totally joyful," she said. "We can be happy because our own one is okay but we feel for Garrett's family."

She went on to say the entire ordeal has given Adrian a new perspective on life.

"He said 'I've learned on lesson for sure: never give up hope,'" she said.

Meanwhile, Hagen is still missing. Lt. Ryan Erickson with the coast guard said Tuesday they had found another one of their missing vessels, the smaller skiff which is what Hagen was using to transport the bear they caught when he disappeared.


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