Man Accidentally Left Alone In Police Holding Cell Got The Record For Surviving Most Days Without Food Or Liquids

By maks in News On 9th June 2024

An Austrian man found himself in a situation that inadvertently led him to set a Guinness World Record that nobody would envy.

People don't always aim to be in the record books, but for Andreas Mihavecz, it was an unexpected outcome.

You certainly wouldn't want to find yourself in his shoes.

Back in 1979, his ordeal earned him the record for the longest survival without food and water.

Andreas Mihavecz was just 18 years old at the time. Getty Images

At the age of 18, while working as a bricklayer's apprentice, Mihavecz's story began quite innocently when he was placed in a holding cell inside a local government building.

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He was taken into custody by mistake after being involved in a car accident as a passenger.

However, in a turn of events that can only be described as horrifying, all three police officers in charge of overseeing him simply forgot about his presence in the cell.

In an odd twist, each officer mistakenly believed that one of the others had already released him.

Moreover, when his mother started to ask questions about her son's whereabouts, they disregarded her concerns.

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You might wonder, why didn't he just yell for help until someone noticed?

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He tried exactly that, but his cell was in the basement, making it impossible for his screams to be heard by anyone.

Mihavecz was eventually found when another officer noticed a foul smell coming from the cell where he was detained.

After being rescued, Mihavecz required several months to recuperate from the ordeal, but remarkably, he managed to survive.

The then-18-year-old was initially locked up on April 1.

The officers responsible for Mihavecz forget about him. Getty Images

It wasn't until April 18 that another officer discovered him, leaving him trapped for a total of 19 days.

The three officers responsible for this oversight were Markus Weber, Heinz Ceheter, and Erwin Schneider.

They faced charges in a criminal trial.

Each officer pointed fingers at the others during the trial. 

In the end, they were fined about €2,000 each as it was impossible to determine who was most at fault.

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A lingering question remains: How did Mihavecz manage to survive for nearly three weeks, especially without water?

His survival depended on drinking condensation from the cell walls.

By the time he was discovered, it's estimated that Mihavecz had lost about 24kg of his body weight.