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Sweden's victory saves mans life.


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June 17, 2004

Man trapped in car says Sweden's victory over Bulgaria saves his life

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- An 85-year-old Swede said Thursday he survived four days without food and water inside his stalled car thanks to Sweden's 5-0 victory over Bulgaria in Euro 2004.

Soeren Gellerstedt said news of the win was all he needed to cling on to life until rescuers found him in a desolate area in northern Sweden.

"The victory kept me alive," Gellerstedt, a retired farmer, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "The Swedish side gave me the best energy I could have."

Gellerstedt's car stalled Friday after it struck a rock in a rural area near his home in Jokkmokk, 900 kilometres north of Stockholm. He decided to stay in his car and hope for someone to find him.

Worried relatives called police, but a search with dogs and helicopters was called off Monday -- as Sweden kicked off against Bulgaria in Portugal -- and Gellerstedt was feared dead.

Exhausted and weak from three days without food or fluids, the excitement from the game broadcast on his car radio was what saved him, he said.

Relatives, who had continued the search, found him Tuesday morning, suffering from dehydration and hunger.

The win over Bulgaria left Sweden in first place in their group.

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