COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (KAYU/CNN) - Howard Coates was pinned between an all-terrain vehicle and a tree, surviving for three days with no food, no water, through thunderstorms.
Crews found him Sunday. He’s still in the hospital and thankful to be alive.
It was a picturesque Thursday, and Coates planned a quick ride because there was something he wanted to see that night.
"I just wanted to ride that one little hill and then come back and watch the Seahawks game,” he said.
Coates never got to watch that Seahawks game.
He crashed, his ATV rolling down a hill, trapping him.
“I was pinned up against a tree in the back, and I didn’t have a shirt on or nothing. That tree was just tattooed to my back,” Coates said.
For three days, Coates was stuck. On Saturday, a bad storm rolled through the area.
He used what he could around him to keep warm.
“I propped up a toolbox cover off the machine, so I could use to catch some water and also keep some of the rain off my back,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it, just a matter of how much time it was going to take me.”
Coates said he kept himself occupied by replaying in his mind old concerts he’d been to, but it was a grueling 72 hours.
Finally on Sunday, he was found in that same ravine against that same tree by his brother, his son and Kootenai County Search and Rescue.
“It was just an apparition, I’ve never been so happy. I knew that my son was going to find me, I just knew it,” Coates said.
From there, Coates was flown to a hospital, where he is still recovering from dehydration and injuries.
Incredibly, he’s in good spirits and tells me he plans to ride that hill again.
“She [his wife] thinks I’m going to sell it but I’m not going to,” Coates said.