After being stuck on Mammoth Mountain for eight days in February 2004, Eric LeMarque developed stage IV frostbite. The former professional ice hockey player lost both of his legs as a result of the event.
The tragedy, on the other hand, taught LeMarque the importance of his life and his family, particularly his wife. He realized they were the true riches in his life since they never left his side, even when he was fighting for his life.
Eric LeMarque was stranded in strange woods with deep snow
On February 6, 2004, LeMarque skied over Mammoth Mountain in California’s Sierra Nevada range with nothing but a light jacket, some gum, damp matches, and a bag of meth.
LeMarque was aware of the approaching wall of storm clouds. He was even aware that the storm would pass him by in a matter of minutes. However, his “overconfidence and bad judgment” led him into the uncharted ground.
He became lost in the woods as the sun set and was forced to spend the night there. When he awoke in the morning, he pushed through the 15-foot snow to go back home. But neither the weather nor his luck was on his side, and he became stranded in the freezing woods.
He also came across coyotes, slid and fell into cold water, narrowly avoided falling over an 80-foot waterfall, trekked in the snow with only one boot and no socks on both feet, and spent seven nights without food, drink, or shelter.
Eric LeMarque was airlifted to safety when he had given up all hope
LeMarque was on the edge of death due to a lack of food and supplies. His feet and legs were severely frostbitten. He dropped 45 pounds and, eventually, the prospect of being discovered. But, just when LeMarque had given up hope of making it home alive on his eighth day, he heard the sound of a helicopter circling above him. The search and rescue team was aboard a National Guard Black Hawk chopper.
After then, the American-French author was taken to the hospital. His feet were originally amputated just above the ankles, but his legs were so badly wounded that doctors had to take another 6 inches off and cut below the knee.
According to experts, no human could withstand such extreme conditions. Despite the odds, LeMarque gained the nickname “The Miracle Man.”
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In 2017, a biographical film called 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain was developed based on his story. In the film, the part of LeMarque was played by American actor Josh Hartnett.
Eric LeMarque is grateful for his lovely wife and family
In an interview with Mirror magazine in October 2017, Eric LeMarque stated that his near-death experience taught him the value of his family, particularly his wife.
He claimed that his “powder” addiction [he used Meth] and overconfidence in his ability to overcome the snow were the factors that contributed to the unforgettable hurricane in his life. After the incident, he discovered “a great wife and gorgeous family.” Further, the former ice hockey player began:
Eric is married to Hope and has a kid named Zach.