Man describes ordeal after being lost in desert for days

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ANTHEM, Ariz. – An 84-year-old man is telling his story of survival after being stranded for five days in the desert.

Henry Morello was on his way home from dinner last week when he made a wrong turn, got stuck in a ditch and could only wait to be rescued.

He said he survived doing things many of us might not even think of doing.

Morello, whom friends call Hank, disappeared on Monday after heading to a restaurant in Cave Creek.

“It’s still a little bit unclear if he missed his exit on the way home or whether he got confused coming out of Harold’s,” said Morello's son, Carl.

Morello has diabetes and dementia and spent five days off Interstate 17 and Bloody Basin Road. He said his car got stuck in a ditch and his battery died. His cell phone also lost power.

Morello said he used his floor mats to keep warm at night. He also put a chrome rim on top of his car to catch the attention of aircraft but could not fight off the extreme thirst. He said he drank windshield washer fluid.

"I broke the top off with a rock and sucked some of the water out of there," he explained.

Morello also read the car manual from cover to cover and prayed as he waited for rescue crews to find him.

“After the fifth day, I says, this is it. If they don’t find me tonight, I’m not going to make another night out here,” Morello said.

Families looking for a place to camp in the area found Morello in a frightened and emotional state on Saturday.

“The guy looked like an angel to me,” Morello said.

Morello suffered damage to his kidneys, dehydration and exposure but doctors say he is in good condition.