Kayaker lost in Everglades rescued thanks to washed-up phone

The man was in the water for two days before he was rescued

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 04 February 2020 21:05
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Police aviation video shows rescue of missing kayaker in the Everglades

A 67-year-old kayaker who was lost in the Florida Everglades since 29 January has been rescued after his phone washed up on shore, leading rescuers to his last location.

Mark Miele of Williamsburg, Virginia, set out on a solo kayaking trip on 22 January and was due back a week later.

Four days after he was due back, a bag containing Mr Miele’s phone and wallet washed up on the bank of the Lopez River, according to the Naples Daily News. National Park rangers found the bag. The rangers worked with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to locate Mr Miele.

The law enforcement officials used data found on Mr Miele’s phone to determine his most recent coordinates. The sheriff’s office used the data to focus its search area.

A helicopter crew from the sheriff’s office found Mr Miele a few miles from where his phone and wallet had been found and guided rescuers to his location.

Corporal Ed Henderson told local news station WINK-TV said upon first seeing Mr Miele, there was some concern that he had died.

“First concern when we found him it didn’t look like he was moving and we didn’t know if it was going to be a recovery or a rescue,” Mr Henderson said.

Mr Miele was transported to a Naples hospital where he was treated for hypothermia and dehydration. It is believed Mr Miele was in the water for two days before he was found.

“Turns out when I talk to a guy after the fact that was on scene, he goes, no, he was convulsing. He’d been in the water for two solid days and it’s been really cold,” Mr Henderson said. “Coming back and watching the video and seeing the expression on his face and holding the rescuer’s hand, that was just…yeah.”

The circumstances leading to Mr Miele losing his kayak are still unknown.

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