A Thanksgiving miracle

By Steve Ohnesorge - bio l email

CASAR, NC  (WBTV) – He disappeared Wednesday afternoon, telling his caregiver he was driving to the store.  76 year old Arthur McKenzie then vanished.  By midnight authorities were concerned enough to issue a Silver Alert, so that law enforcement and the public would be on the lookout for the man and his car. Many feared the worst had happened.

Just before lunchtime, as many Carolina families gathered for their own thanksgiving celebrations, Arthur McKenzie was found, alive. Lloyd Hambrick says he was driving to his farm when he spotted the car down an embankment. "Looked down the bank and I seen the man," he said.  McKenzie was face down in the leaves, and Hambrick says he couldn't tell if the man was alive. Two other men who stopped to help say they also feared the worst until they saw McKenzie move a little, then start talking.

Within minutes rescue crews arrived, trying to keep McKenzie warm and assessing his condition. He was carried up the embankment and taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Troopers say McKenzie was in good shape with only minor injuries and that he should be okay.

Investigators say McKenzie just drove off the road and down the embankment. The car did not hit anything but was stuck on the hill. McKenzie got out, walked around and apparently collapsed.

Rescue crews say they don't think McKenzie could have survived another night. Temperatures were in the upper thirties Wednesday night. They were expected to dip below freezing Thursday night.

The fact that he was found alive and in relatively good shape was a "Thanksgiving Day miracle," said one rescuer.

Cleveland Regional Medical Center staff told WBTV that they expect Mr. McKenzie to be "just fine".