By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer
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NAPLES, Fla. — The 729,000-acre Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the worst places in the Southeast to get lost, and it happened to a 90-year-old hunter on Monday, Nov. 14.
He survived the ordeal without serious injury — despite wandering alone for hours among the alligators, venomous snakes and Florida panthers known to roam the swamp.
Aerial video released by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office shows the hunter was spotted around 3:35 p.m., trying to push his way through a wall of bushes and swamp grasses.
The location was roughly four miles from the nearest road, U.S. 41, in Southwest Florida, officials said.
Due to the density of the cypress forest, specialists with the North Collier Fire Control and Rescue District had to be lowered from a helicopter. They strapped the hunter into a harness and he was hoisted to safety at 4:20 p.m., the sheriff’s office says.
The rescued happened more than seven hours after the man “split from another hunter he had been with” and vanished into the swamp, NBC-2 reports.
He was reported missing at 12:40 p.m., the sheriff’s office says.
The hunter’s identity and condition were not released, but the video shows he was bleeding from the wrist when pulled into the helicopter.
He was dropped off at a ranger station, where Collier County EMS was waiting to evaluate his condition, officials said.
“This is a terrific example of the teamwork our members and fellow first responders perform every day to keep our community safe,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said.
“We are thrilled that we were able to help this hunter return to safety.”
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