Brad Lambert can’t explain why he’s not dead.
Lost in the southeastern Manitoba bush for three weeks with no heat, no fire and no food, the 46-year-old Winnipeg man survived on melted snow and groundwater sucked through a hollowed-out ballpoint pen.
"There’s been some skepticism of my account," Lambert said from his Southdale home Monday night, where he’s been reunited with his wife and soon-to-be-seven-year-old son. "I would have been (skeptical) myself.
"I had the will and the reason to keep fighting. I think that once people see the location of my vehicle, the skeptics will be appeased."
Where his truck is, is still a mystery, though Lambert said he thinks he’s given the RCMP enough clues that they can find it today.
Lambert set out Nov. 15 for a day of hunting, and was missing 23 days until Saturday when he turned up at the Marchand store.
During that time, he lost 40 pounds.
Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said police are still looking into the matter.
"Our part in this is not complete, and we’re just holding off providing any specific comments regarding the entire ordeal until we have a firm grasp on everything that has taken place," said Michalyshen. He said police are "very pleased" Lambert was reunited with his family, but officers "still have a job to do and an investigation to complete."
Brad Lambert’s father, Norman, said his son used a cigarette lighter to light fires and melt snow for water to drink.
His son had a cellphone but the battery died. The deer and elk hunter wasn’t able to catch any food, he said.
"He stayed by his truck thinking that eventually he’d be found," said Norman Lambert, who said his son eventually came to the conclusion he needed to find his way out by foot and followed trails to a nearby road.
There, he said, his son flagged down a driver and was dropped off in Marchand.
After Lambert went missing, police sent pictures of him and his black Ford F-150 truck to media to ask for information about where he was. The Winnipeg Police Service Missing Persons Unit and RCMP Search and Rescue Team — along with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) — had searched for Lambert by air and on the ground.
They also asked Manitobans and Ontarians to check their garages and storage sheds for Lambert.
Dwayne Logan, a Nesbitt-based instructor who teaches wilderness survival courses and disaster preparedness, said if someone is lost in the wild their No. 1 priority is finding safe shelter.
He said it was good that Lambert had a vehicle.
"You can only survive maybe as short as three hours without shelter if it’s windy and you’re wet and so on," said Logan.
"If it’s windy and your pants are wet from walking through the snow, you’ll die of exposure in as little as three hours."