US & Canada

Canadian man rescued after being mistaken for seal

Gerald Whitman at his home in Nova Scotia Image copyright CBC
Image caption Gerald Whitman became stranded in snow storm on his way to hospital

A Canadian man has been rescued from a snow storm after being mistaken for a seal.

Charlie Parker, a former politician, was shovelling snow near his home in Nova Scotia when he spotted a dark shape moving through the snow.

When he came closer, he found 73-year-old Gerald Whitman face down on the road.

"He thought I was a seal," Mr Whitman told CBC News.

"On behalf of all seals, I'd like to thank him for his interest. … If he hadn't been as strong as he was, I think we still would be there."

Mr Whitman had been driving to hospital on Monday for a dialysis treatment, when he took a detour because the road was closed.

"I made a wrong turn somewhere," he said, explaining how his car became stuck in the snow.

Image copyright CBC
Image caption Mr Parker was out late shovelling snow for his son when he saw Mr Whitman

Not wanting to become trapped in his car, Mr Whitman crawled out of the passenger side and set out for a house he could see in the distance.

But snow was deep and hard on his arthritic knees. When he sat down for a break, he could not get up. So he crawled, knowing "what would happen if he fell asleep," he told the CBC.

"After about an hour, I thought, "Well, if this is what it's going to be - I made peace with the Lord and said 'If it be your will, so be it.' And I just stopped. Apparently it wasn't his will."

Mr Parker had spotted Mr Whitman while he was shovelling the driveway for his son, who was on his way home from a night shift.

"I'm sure I didn't do anything different than anyone else would have," Mr Parker said.

Whitman was taken to a hospital and has since recovered. He plans to drive to his next appointment later this week.