Jean Hilliard

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Jean Hilliard (born 1961), from Lengby, Minnesota, is a survivor of a severe 6-hour freezing during the nighttime after a car accident in rural northwestern Minnesota, United States, left her car inoperable in sub-zero temperatures. She survived and her recovery was described as a miracle.[1][2]


On December 20, 1980, Hilliard was involved in a car accident that resulted in car failure in sub-zero temperatures. She walked to a friend's house 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) away and collapsed 15 feet (4.6 metres) away from the door. Temperatures dropped to −22 °F (−30 °C) and she was found "frozen solid" at 7 a.m. the following morning after six hours in the cold. She was transported to Fosston Hospital where doctors said her skin was too hard to pierce with a hypodermic needle and her body temperature was too low to register on a thermometer. Her face was ashen and her eyes were solid with no response to light. Her pulse was slowed to approximately 12 beats per minute. It has been suggested that due to having alcohol in her system, her organs remained unfrozen, which prevented permanent damage.[3]

Her family gathered in prayer, hoping for a miracle. She was wrapped in an electric blanket. Two hours later, Hilliard went into violent convulsions and regained consciousness. She was perfectly fine, mentally and physically, although a bit confused. Even the frostbite was slowly disappearing from her legs, to the doctor's amazement. After 49 days, she left the hospital without even losing a finger and with no permanent damage to the brain or body.


  1. ^ AP (3 January 1981). "DAKOTA TEEN-AGER RECOVERS AFTER BEING 'FROZEN STIFF'". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-19.>
  2. ^ Geri Harrington (November 1981). Total warmth: the complete guide to winter well-being. Collier Books. ISBN 978-0-02-080070-5.>
  3. ^ AP (1981-01-09). "Physicians Say Frozen Survivors Not So Rare". Herald-Journal. The Spartanburg Herald. Retrieved 2015-09-09.