Biker who broke leg in crash in north Georgia mountains survived on creek water for 8 days

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — A Forsyth County man is recovering after he was stranded for eight days in the north Georgia mountains after crashing his motorcycle.

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Kirk Wintersteen, 68, of Cumming was riding his bike home from Suches on March 25 when he lost control on a dirt road in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

“That bike came out from under me and landed on the back of my leg,” he said from his room at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. “I couldn’t use one good leg to pick up the bike and slide my leg out. It was caught somehow.”

But he knew he had to do something.

“I may die here if I’m not able to get my leg out from under the motorcycle,” he said. “I was eventually able to do that. I started thinking about survival at that point.”

Survival meant water.

A creek flowed nearby, so Wintersteen crawled and rolled his way to the creek bank to drink. But he had no food and no cell service, and for eight days he saw no signs of another human being.

“All those days I would yell for help from time to time,” he said. “Any time I heard a dog bark or any noise at all, I would yell.”

In those eight days in the woods, he endured storms and shivered through below-freezing nights.

His biker friends and local law enforcement launched a search.

“I guess the thought of being rescued – that kept me going,” he said.

Wintersteen said he remained optimistic that somebody would come along and rescue him, but he began having doubts after about six days. “I won’t say I wasn’t optimistic, but I was to the point where I said this may be the time God takes me.”

Eight days in, he heard the rumble of motorcycles.

Two bikers spotted his wrecked motorcycle and heard his cries for help. “And I saw them come by, and I know I was yelling at them,” he said.

He now expresses deep gratitude to the bikers who rescued him, and to everyone who was involved in the search.

“And I’m thankful that I’m coming through this,” he said.

Wintersteen has been in the hospital for about two weeks.

He still has some physical rehabilitation to undergo but is otherwise on the mend.

And yes, he does plan to get on his bike again.

Source: WSBTV-75