Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Who Needs Fiction: Character Building

You can't make this stuff up. I think there's a Darwin Award here. If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the whole story.

Man Dies of Thirst During Survival Test

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

(05-02) 10:44 PDT Boulder, Utah (AP) --

A man died of thirst during a wilderness-survival exercise designed to test his physical and mental toughness, even though guides had water. They didn't offer him any because they did not want to spoil the character-building experience.

By Day 2 in the blazing Utah desert, Dave Buschow was in bad shape. Pale, wracked by cramps, his speech slurred, the 29-year-old New Jersey man was desperate for water and hallucinating so badly he mistook a tree for a person.

After going roughly 10 hours without a drink in the 100-degree heat, he finally dropped dead of thirst, face down in the dirt, less than 100 yards from the goal: a cave with a pool of water.

But Buschow was no solitary soul, lost and alone in the desert. He and 11 other hikers from various walks of life were being led by expert guides on a wilderness-survival adventure designed to test their physical and mental toughness.

And the guides, it turned out, were carrying emergency water on that torrid summer day.

Buschow wasn't told that, and he wasn't offered any. The guides did not want him to fail the $3,175 course. They wanted him to dig deep, push himself beyond his known limits, and make it to the cave on his own.

Nearly a year later, documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act reveal those and other previously undisclosed details of what turned out to be a death march for Buschow. They also raise questions about the judgments and priorities of the guides at the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. What matters more: the customer's welfare or his quest?

"It was so needless. What a shame. It didn't have to happen," said Ray Gardner, the Garfield County sheriff's deputy who hiked six miles to recover Buschow's body. "They had emergency water right there. I would have given him a drink."

Family members are angry.


Zen said...

Dayam!! :-(

Rick Matz said...

"Family members are angry." DO YOU THINK?!

You can't make this stuff up.

ms_lili said...

My first question was did the guy sign a waiver absolving the company of liability should his death occur?

If the answer is no, the family needs to put this place out of business through a wrongful death suit.

One death from mass stupidity is enough.

Rick Matz said...

When one person commits an act of stupidity, that's, well, being human. When a bunch of people (the trainers) are standing around thinking that letting this guy die; that's insanity!