Craig Strickland Died From Hypothermia: What You Need to Know About the Condition


Singer Craig Strickland’s wife Helen shared the sad news. (Photo: Instagram/backroadcraig)

The ten-day search for country singer Craig Strickland came to a tragic end Monday, January 4, when authorities located his body in the area known as Bear Creek Cove in Oklahoma. The 29-year-old lead singer for Backroad Anthem, an Arkansas-based touring band, went missing in late December during a duck hunting trip with his friend, Chase Morland.

Strickland’s wife, Helen, shared the devastating news on both Twitter and Instagram. “The night of the accident he had fought his way out of the water and up a hill before the stages of hypothermia set in,” she posted. “He experienced no pain in his final moments and simply felt like he was falling asleep.”

And from a medical standpoint, this account is absolutely correct, Susi U. Vassallo, MD, clinical professor of emergency medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center who specializes in thermoregulation, tells Yahoo Health. “Hypothermia is a body temperature of less than 95 degrees,” she explains. “When this temperature continues to fall lower and lower—let’s say in the low 80 or 70 degrees—then the person does become unconscious. And we would not expect them to suffer.”

Dr. Vassallo adds that during this state unconsciousness, the heart begins to slow down until it stops. And while it’s difficult to say how long someone could survive under these treacherous conditions, she estimates it would only be for a couple of hours. “Again, this person would still be unconscious and not in any pain.”

Morland’s body was recovered on Monday, December 28 and their boat was found capsized. The only survivor from this journey was Strickland’s faithful companion—his black lab, Sam—who was found by Morland’s side.

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