The Guinness World Record holder for surviving the longest without food or drink is an Austrian who was imprisoned at age 18 before police completely forgot about him for 18 days.
- In Austria, a forgotten prisoner survived 18 days in a cell without food or water
- After being wrongly imprisoned in April 1979, he remained the world record holder.
Most scientists would agree that humans can only survive a few days without eating or drinking.
A healthy human body should only be able to survive without food for 21 days – and only three days without water.
Yet an Austrian man proved a medical mystery when it was discovered he had endured 18 days without food or drink.
Andreas Mihavecz was taken into custody by mistake, even though he was a passenger in a car accident and was not responsible for the accident.
He was taken to a cramped basement holding cell in the small town of Höchst on Lake Constance, Austria, and was quickly forgotten by the police.
Surviving thanks to condensed water from the walls, the then 18-year-old man was miraculously found after reports the room smelled bad.
Andreas Mihavecz holds the record for surviving longest without food or drink after being falsely arrested by police and ‘totally forgetting’
An archive article from April 1979 by the daily The Hamburger Abendblatt, headlined “Officials Forgot Prisoner in Cell: Condemned,” said Andreas lost 50 pounds and took weeks to return to work.
Guinness World records indicate officers found the man “on the verge of death” in the cell.
Andreas worked as an apprentice mason and his worried mother was allegedly ignored by the police.
Three German officers had mistakenly arrested him for a traffic violation, each thinking the other had released him.
Records show that inspectors Markus Weber, Heinz Ceheter and Erwin Shchneider were tried for “gross negligence in the performance of their duties”.
During the trial, it became unclear who was responsible, with each officer blaming the other.
It emerged that a missing person’s report had been filed by one of the police officers, just a day before Andreas was found – despite his worried mother asking for a report to be made days before.
The Austrian was discovered 18 days later after reports the room smelled. He was later compensated by the Supreme Court in Vienna.
The report was made on a form that had been invalid for ten years and did not reach a superior officer until a week later, the filing states.
Despite the conditions, the three police officers were only fined around 4,000 marks each (around GBP 1,777.48), according to the Hamburger Abendblatt.
The Vienna Supreme Court later awarded the compensation he sought, amounting to 250,000 shillings (approximately 36,000 marks and 15,996.24 GPB), according to the newspaper reported.
According to Guinness World Records, Andreas has “the longest survival without food or water.”