(WESTCLIFFE, Colo.) — A Colorado man who survived six days without food and water after a car crash says he thought the whole thing was a dream.
Richard Koester, of Westcliffe, was in the passenger seat of a truck driven by his friend Ronald Mohr on Oct. 11 when the truck veered out of control and crashed 30 feet into a ravine.
Mohr was killed in the crash while Koester, 36, survived but found himself trapped inside.
“I remember telling myself I can’t move. I can’t get out of this truck,” Koester said from the Colorado Springs hospital where he is now recovering.
Hurt and disoriented, Koester says he can’t remember many of the details of how he survived the next six days trapped inside the car with Mohr’s lifeless body and no food and no water.
“I was laying on top of him the whole six days and nights. I had no idea he was with me when I woke up,” Koester said. “That and a couple of other things kept me alive. He kept me a little warmer for a few extra days.”
Koester remained trapped until a highway worker finally spotted the truck on Oct. 17.
“I stuck my arm out the big hole in the back of the truck and was yelling for help,” Koester said. “I thought I was in a dream.”
Koester lost both of his legs in the crash and has been undergoing treatments ever since.
“I met the doctor who saved my life. He said my body temperature was 79 degrees at the hospital. He said I should’ve been dead a long time ago,” Koester told ABC News.
Koester has already been through five surgeries. His speech is still garbled from the crash, but he says he has a renewed will to live.
“I have a new respect for life. I’m not going to do a lot of stupid things I did in the past,” he said. “I think God has a plan for me. That’s why I lived.”
One of the last phone calls Koester made before the crash was to his daughter, to wish her a happy 13th birthday.
Koester’s mom, Barbara Dial, said her son now has two birthdays for himself, the day she gave birth to him and Oct. 17, the day he was rescued from the crash.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Noelle Baldwin, Deseret News
Marilia Brocchetto, Flora Charner, Joshua Berlinger and Angela Dewan, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN
Theodore Schleifer, CNN