Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lost Hiker Rescued In Everglades

Deputies partnered with other first responders to rescue a 38-year-old Georgia man Wednesday night after he got separated from his family and lost while playing a scavenger hunt game in the Everglades.

Deputies were dispatched to Collier Seminole State Park, 20200 U.S. 41 E., at 6:40 p.m. in response to a missing tourist who became lost on Nature Trail #3, located one mile west of State Road 92 on U.S. 41 East.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office reports gave this account:

The hiker and his family were geocaching – an outdoor game where items hidden in containers, called geocaches or caches, are hidden around the world and then located using a Global Positioning System (GPS) or mobile device and other navigational techniques.

The hiker set out onto the trail while his wife and three minor children remained in their vehicle. He walked approximately 1.5 miles into the nature trail looking for the cache.

He called his wife on his cell phone around 6 p.m. to say he was lost.

Deputies from CCSO’s East Naples and Everglades districts responded to assist. The sheriff’s K-9 and Aviation units also responded, along with a Collier County Emergency Medical Services search-and-rescue unit and firefighters from the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District. Florida Park Service rangers on all-terrain vehicles also responded.    

They searched the nature trail, but were unable to locate the missing hiker.

He made contact with deputies on his cell phone and told them he was lost along a trail. He also said he could not stay on the line for very long because his cell phone battery was below 5 percent power.

Deputies advised him to find a clearing so he could be spotted from the air. 

Around 8:30 p.m. the CCSO air unit spotted the missing hiker standing in a clearing about three miles into the nature trail. Rescuers determined they could not reach him on their ATVs.

The clearing was large enough, so the air unit landed their helicopter and picked up the hiker. He was flown to back to the area where his vehicle was parked, where he was reunited with his family.

He was treated by EMS at the scene and released.

 Click on the link to watch a video from the rescue: