Associated Press: ‘Rainier hiker sacrificed himself to save his wife’

Seattle, WA–In my recent co-authored column Protect Fathers’ Loving Bonds with Their Children (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 6/13/08), I discussed the heroism of fathers Joseph Richardson and Albert Collins, both of whom gave their lives to save their daughters. Along these lines, several readers recently sent me the touching story of Eduard Burceag (pictured), who gave his life to save his wife and his friend. According to the Associated Press:

A hiker who lost his life on Mount Rainier lay down in the snow and used his body’s warmth to
protect his wife and a friend from the 70-mph winds of a freak June blizzard, national park officials said. When it became obvious the trio could not find their way back to base camp in whiteout conditions, they dug a snow trench with their hands. Eduard Burceag, 31, lay down in the snow while his wife and friend lay on top of him. Later, when they begged him to switch places, Burceag refused, saying he was OK. “In doing so, he probably saved their lives,” park spokesman Kevin Bacher said Thursday. Mariana Burceag, also 31, survived the storm, as did the couple’s friend, Daniel Vlad, 34… Reached by telephone in Romania, Eduard Burceag’s brother, Cristian, told The Seattle Times his older brother moved to the United States eight years ago and fell in love with Seattle, its mountains, its opportunities. Cristian Burceag said his mother was visiting his brother and was watching their two young sons while Eduard and Mariana hiked to Camp Muir. He said he was not surprised his brother died shielding his wife from the blizzard. “He was a hero for us,” the younger Burceag said. “I’m sure he would do that. He knew very well that his children needed a lot of their mother and that was the main thing in his life.”

Read the full story here.

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