Ottway was dead the entire time.He was sent back in order to do a job like try to save those people or he is just stuck here. How would he really know what dying feels like? "First it gets warm the it just slides over you like a blanket." Because he's done it before. He was attacked by that wolf in the beginning of the movie, he got bit in the leg and the chest i think. Yet he show no ill effects or even limping. There was also that thing where he went flying out of a damn airplane and landed 50 yards away from the rest of the crash. He survived all this because he can't be killed. note Maybe it wasn't even his wife that died but him, that scene where she says "Don't be afraid." He was about to die.
Ottway not only survived.He inadvertently became the alpha male. Simple logic, kill the alpha male, and you are leader of the pack.