Missing hiker thanks rescue team for finding her in Tampa Bay nature park

Hillsborough County

THONOTOSASSA, Fla. (WFLA) – At the New Tampa Nature Park there is plenty to do for families, but what one woman didn’t realize is that this park butts up to more than 5,000 acres of wilderness known as the Flatwoods.

Libia and Daniel Marsack love to hike, but since 2012 they’ve been busy fighting to keep Daniel alive.

Courtesy: Libia Marsack

“He has right now a form of cancer known as MDS,” says Libia.

A week ago he went through a bone marrow transplant.

“Staying with him right now at the hospital with him, especially right now during the holidays I want to be him.”

Looking for a moment of relaxation and ease of mind Libia decides to find her Zen at the New Tampa Nature Park.

“I spent about a good two hours exploring and taking video of tortoises that I saw, and it was just very enjoyable,” says Libia.

On her way out, she hikes Panther Trail. It looks short, but as darkness starts to settle she realizes the trail is longer than she thought.

“I was nervous. Not because of the distance. I knew I could get back, but now it’s dark. That was the problem. I couldn’t see,” she recalls.

Embarrassed, she calls 911 from her cell phone.

“I’m like, listen I only have 25, now 15, ten percent battery, 2 percent battery. I can’t talk. I actually got to 1 percent,” she says.

Then, a moment of relief!

“I hear the chopper above me! I’m like, oh my gosh!”

She uses her phone’s flashlight to draw in the chopper, and ultimately, a park ranger on an ATV.

Back at home, she thinks of her many rescuers.

“To receive a phone call at night to go pick up this crazy woman who is trekking the forest, by herself. So yeah. I’m grateful. Thank you,” she tells her heroes.

A lot of the credit goes to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit who is trained in these types of searches and rescues.

As for Libia, she says she plans to come back to the park when there’s more daylight and finish Panther Trail, and hopes to do it with her husband.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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