Albert Turinsky Jr.’s family says he loves adventure and nature, so they weren’t surprised when he packed up and moved to Alaska’s wilderness 10 years ago.

When the family received a call recently that the Lake Highlands native had survived a brush with death on a hunting trip, they breathed sighs of relief but said the ordeal was “just another one of Albert Jr.’s adventures.”

The 1974 Lake Highlands High School graduate, and his wife, Regina, were scouting for caribou near their home in Glennallen, Alaska, when their snow machine broke through a thin patch of ice on Paxon Lake.

The couple spent about 10 minutes in the freezing water before finding a piece of ice strong enough to support them so they could crawl to the bank. Then, they spent more than 3 hours in wet clothes at temperatures of 10 degrees below zero before being rescued by fellow hunters.

The Turinskys, both 39, were hospitalized for several weeks at an Anchorage hospital, and Albert will have a toe amputated because of severe frostbite.

The couple had set out on Friday, Feb. 2, for a caribou hunting trip when their snow machine went through a thin piece of ice.

“With temperatures of 10 below and soaking wet clothes, I didn’t really give us much of a chance,” Turnisky says. “I’m relieved that we made it.”

Turnisky says he used survival skills he learned from trappers and mountaineers to make it through the nightmarish ordeal.

“The water actually felt better then the air, but the problem is it will drain off body heat faster,” Turnisky says.

Once on shore, the couple rolled in snow to absorb some of the water and tried, without success, to build a fire using 30 matches from a small survival kit. Turnisky says there was more survival gear on the snow machine, but it had sunk to the bottom of the lake.

Their only option was to start hiking the 10 miles back to the Meir’s Lake Roadhouse, where the couple ate lunch with friends earlier that day, Turnisky says.

By this time, their clothes had frozen solid, making the hike in the deep snow slow and painful. Regina became exhausted and couldn’t keep up with her husband, and they decided to split up so Albert could find help.

Meanwhile, their three hunting partners began to worry as darkness set in, and the couple hadn’t returned. Three hours later, two hunting partners found Albert hiking an uphill mile-long road that connects the lake and highway. The third partner set out on a snow machine and rescued Regina.

Alaska State Troopers have said the Turinskys owe their lives to the fact they told their friends exactly where they would be hunting and when they would return.

“Under the circumstances, it’s remarkable that we made it,” Turinsky says. “If it had been another hour before someone found us, I don’t think we would be here to talk about it.”

Albert Turinsky Sr. says his son has always been daring and the icy ordeal was just “another adventure.”

“He’s a real interesting and adventurous person – I’m not sure where he got this blood,” Turinsky Sr. says.

Albert Turinsky moved to the state 10 years ago to take part in the federal government’s homestead program, eventually settling in Glennallen, which is 200 miles north of Anchorage. He has worked as a paralegal and served as the finance director for the Republican Party of Alaska until 1987. Turinsky owns and manages a salvage business, which he says has been closed since the accident.

Turinsky remains undaunted by his brush with death.

“It won’t even slow me down. As soon as I recover, I will continue to spend my time in the mountains – I love the lifestyle.”