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"It wasn't about me": Missing hiker who survived reveals what kept him going

Hiker found after days missing
Hiker found after days missing 01:28

MALIBU, Calif. -- A man went out for a hike last Sunday in the rugged hills along Southern California's Malibu coast. Then, he disappeared. 

He turned up days later with a serious injury and quite a story.

Marcelo Santos did just about everything you're not supposed to do if you get lost on a remote trail. "I didn't have any survival gear on me, no flash lights, no sweater, no lighter," Santos said.

Santos badly hurt his knee and had to make his way through tough terrain full of rocks and brush. On each of the three bitterly cold nights, Santos said he "would try to insulate whatever I could find."

"So as it was getting dark, I would look for caves or thick brush," he said.

"It sucked. I had no energy left, I was dehydrated. I just knew that if I gave up though, that I would really literally just be giving up my life," Santos said.

It was more than four miles later where he found help at a Salvation Army camp, and found Amber Perez.

Amanda Perez CBS News

"I'm like, 'Hi, who are you?' And he's like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm so glad I found you! I've been lost for three days! I've been hiking, my knee is broken,'" Perez said.

What kept the 30-year-old going? Santos said it was faith and something else.

"I was thinking of all the people that were out there searching for me. My mom, my grandma, my buddy that was out there. You know, it wasn't about me at that point at all," Santos said.

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