It all started out normal for Nick Sitzman. He was a strong, family-oriented, man who was a great member to his community, and was very well liked by those he met. He went to work as usual to his job with the train crew, excited to leave an hour early in honor of the foreman`s birthday. With the work days final minutes approaching, everyone packed their things and began to head home, not noticing that Nick was missing.
In a way authorities are still unsure of, he had managed to get locked in a refrigerated train car. Nick banged the door and yelled until his knuckles grew bloody, and his body was tired. Reality began to set in, that nobody was hearing his cries for help and the rest of the crew had all departed.
As time passed, Nick knew if he couldn’t get out he was going to be freezing to death. In a moment of desperation, he took out his knife and carved a message into the floor of the car. Wanting everyone to know what happened to him, he wrote, “It’s so cold, my body is getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words.” Sadly, he was correct, the next morning he was found dead.
When the autopsy was performed on Nick`s body, it was easily confirmed that his cause of death was hypothermia. He had frozen to death in the car that was found out to have not been operating while Nick was inside. The temperature of the boxcar when his body was discovered was a, surprising, 55 degrees.
Nick`s night was a long one as his body temperature dropped one degree about every 30-40 minutes. By the time his body reached 93 degrees, amnesia began to set in, putting him in a state of fear and confusion. However, this was only the beginning.
As time passed, Nick`s body continued to shut down on him. Once his body reached a core temperature of 88 degrees, he no longer shivered as a mean to stay warm. At a low temperature like this, the blood began to thicken and oxygen intake had dropped to a quarter of what it normally was.
Throughout his final hours, Nick`s condition continued to worsen, he lost most vision, and soon after his heart began to slow. With this lack of oxygen to the brain, hallucinations likely occurred, making the end of his life even more horrifying than before. Finally, Nick`s heart had stopped.
The scariest part of Nick`s story is just how real hypothermia is, and the fact that it does not have to be subzero to feel its effects. Now his wife is without her husband, and their two children are without a father. Most places on Earth commonly experience temperatures outside much colder than the temperature that Nick faced. A lesson to be learned from this story? Dress weather appropriately, and stay warm.