Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: A man freed himself from an avalanche by drinking beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.
Example: [news.com.au, 2005]
Origins: The story about a Slovak man who was buried inside his car by an avalanche, and supposedly freed himself by drinking beer and urinating on the snow to melt it, was carried by a number of western news services in January 2005. The story has so far proved difficult to verify because its attributions have been vague (e.g., "correspondents in Bratislava"), and it evidently originated in a part of the world (the Slovak Republic) where information sources are more difficult to track down (particularly because the language is unfamiliar to most westerners).
However, a correspondent who works for a Slovak news agency informed us that not only has the avalanche story (or any news story about an avalanche) not appeared in the news media there, but the very same tale (of Czech origin, told about an unnamed man caught in the Austrian Alps) was circulating in that country as an e-mail joke even before the heavy snows described in the article occurred.
Last updated: 2 February 2005
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