‘I’d given up:’ Man who survived in outback by eating ants recounts ordeal

Updated 1:42 AM EST, Tue November 3, 2015
australia ant man speaks holmes pkg_00011108.jpg
7 Network Australia
australia ant man speaks holmes pkg_00011108.jpg
Now playing
01:46
Grandfather speaks about eating ants to survive Outback
Man dragged by train
KMGH; RTD
Man dragged by train
Now playing
01:20
Man survives being dragged by train
KGO
Now playing
00:57
Man survives after van plunges off cliff
In this July 8, 2018 photo provided by the Missoula County Sheriff's Office shows a 5-month-old infant with dirt under their fingernails after authorities say the baby survived about nine hours being buried under sticks and debris in the woods.
Missoula County Sheriff's Office via AP
In this July 8, 2018 photo provided by the Missoula County Sheriff's Office shows a 5-month-old infant with dirt under their fingernails after authorities say the baby survived about nine hours being buried under sticks and debris in the woods.
Now playing
02:17
Baby survived being buried for 9 hours
orig texas officer hit_00000311.jpg
Ft. Worth Police Department
orig texas officer hit_00000311.jpg
Now playing
01:01
Car slams into officer -- and he survives
Now playing
00:47
Distracted woman gets run over by train
Severe weather hit Emory, Texas, Sunday morning, April, 30. The storm destroyed the Saint John the Evangelist Church, the Diocese of Tyler posted on its Facebook page.  "About 45 people were just 10-feet away in a hallway sheltering when the tornado hit. By the grace of God and the protection of Our Lady, no one was injured," the Diocese wrote.
Diocese of Tyler/Facebook
Severe weather hit Emory, Texas, Sunday morning, April, 30. The storm destroyed the Saint John the Evangelist Church, the Diocese of Tyler posted on its Facebook page. "About 45 people were just 10-feet away in a hallway sheltering when the tornado hit. By the grace of God and the protection of Our Lady, no one was injured," the Diocese wrote.
Now playing
01:12
Churchgoers: Survived tornado by grace of God
Darrin LeRoy family
Darrin LeRoy
Darrin LeRoy family
Now playing
01:58
How prayer helped through tragedy
Matthew Murray
Now playing
01:32
Motorcyclist survives driving off cliff
Betty Lou Oliver surprises her husband by showing him she can walk again.  Betty escaped death, but was severely injured when the elevation she was operating dropped 71 stories last July when an Army bomber crashed into the Empire State Building.  At Bellevue, where she is pictured with her husband, Betty was nicknamed 'Miss Sunshine' because of courage and her belief in her recovery.
Bettmann/Bettmann/Bettmann Archive
Betty Lou Oliver surprises her husband by showing him she can walk again. Betty escaped death, but was severely injured when the elevation she was operating dropped 71 stories last July when an Army bomber crashed into the Empire State Building. At Bellevue, where she is pictured with her husband, Betty was nicknamed 'Miss Sunshine' because of courage and her belief in her recovery.
Now playing
01:05
She survived the longest elevator free fall
utah teen mason wells belgium attack newday_00000000.jpg
CNN
utah teen mason wells belgium attack newday_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:47
Teen survivor describes airport horrors
utah teen survives duck hunt dnt_00000000.jpg
KSTU/Brayden Neilson
utah teen survives duck hunt dnt_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:51
Teen stuck in cold: I felt like I had 10 minutes left
A boy is rescued form the rubble in Huraitan, Syria, by the self-styled "White Helmets," on January 2.
Syrian White Helmets
A boy is rescued form the rubble in Huraitan, Syria, by the self-styled "White Helmets," on January 2.
Now playing
03:02
Incredible rescue of boy from Syrian rubble
nj girl rescued from fire jumps burning building_00001220.jpg
nj girl rescued from fire jumps burning building_00001220.jpg
Now playing
01:34
Young girl jumps from burning building
mom baby surive after plane crash romo idesk_00003313.jpg
AFP/Getty Images
mom baby surive after plane crash romo idesk_00003313.jpg
Now playing
01:47
Mother and baby found alive after jungle plane crash
Nepal climber rescue All interview newday _00033812.jpg
Nepal climber rescue All interview newday _00033812.jpg
Now playing
04:11
Climber: 'You know you're dead but ... '

Story highlights

"I didn't think anyone was going to find me," Reg Foggerdy tells Australian TV

The 62-year-old grandfather says the ants he ate to stay alive "tasted quite good"

He hasn't ruled out going back to the area to look for his gun he left in the bush

(CNN) —  

A grandfather who ate ants to survive while lost for six days without water in the Australian outback says he thought he was going to die out in the wilderness.

Reg Foggerdy, 62, was on a hunting trip with his brother last month in the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia when he set off in pursuit of a camel he’d shot.

“I followed this camel into the bush. I’d gone at least 30K, I didn’t know where I was,” he told CNN affiliate Seven Network, recounting his errant 19-mile wander and the extraordinary tale of survival that followed.

Foggerdy found himself alone with only the shorts, T-shirt, flip-flops and hat he was wearing. He had a valuable source of food right in front of him – the dead camel he’d chased down – but no means with which to eat it.

“I didn’t have a knife, and I didn’t have matches for a fire,” he said. “So I couldn’t go and cut a steak off the animal because I had no way to cook it and had no way to cut it.”

Ants ‘tasted quite good’

A diabetic who’d had a heart attack earlier this year, Foggerdy also lacked water in a vast, dry region, more than 100 miles from the nearest town.

In his plight, he turned to ants for nutrients, an idea he remembered from watching the TV shows of British survival expert Bear Grylls.

“They tasted quite good. The first day, I ate probably 12 ants – and the following day, I had 18,” Foggerdy said.

But as time passed, his hopes of making it out of the outback alive began to fade. He saw search helicopters passing overhead, but they didn’t notice him amid the trees where he was seeking shelter from the blistering heat of the sun.

“I didn’t think anyone was going to find me, and I’d given up,” he told Seven Network.

Reg hugs his son.
Steve Scott/Seven News
Reg hugs his son.

By the sixth day, his organs had started to shut down. He had said his last goodbyes in his head and expected death to come soon.

“I was at peace with myself,” he said, wiping away a tear as he remembered the thought of his family seeing his body lying on the dirt beneath the tree.

’I might go back and look for my gun’

But as Foggerdy prepared for the end, searchers were hot on his trail after an Aboriginal tracker spotted one of his footprints in the dirt.

“When I opened my eyes and seen them, I was so happy,” Foggerdy recalled. Police said he was “extremely dehydrated” and “a bit delusional” when they found him. He was airlifted to safety and spent the next few days recovering in hospital.

The grandfather says he thinks he was lucky, not tough.

“I’ve heard of people dying after three days with no water,” he told Seven News. “I don’t know why I survived six days.”

Reg Foggerdy with his brother Ray.
Steve Scott/Seven News
Reg Foggerdy with his brother Ray.

Foggerdy says he doesn’t mind if people want to call him “Ant Man” after his survival methods.

And he hasn’t ruled out returning to the scene of his brush with death.

“I might go back and look for my gun,” he said. “It’s still in the shrub.”

Australian police hail ‘miracle’ of autistic boy’s outback survival