TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A hiker was rescued after he got lost in Little Manatee River State Park on Wednesday, authorities said.
Officials said the unidentified hiker called 911 around 2:30 p.m. and said he was lost in the woods and dehydrated.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released photos and video of the rescue on Thursday.
Dispatchers used GPS from his cell phone to find his location, then rescue crews spent about an hour looking for the man before they found him.
“They started searching, our aviation unit went out thank goodness we have that helicopter that was able to finally locate the man,” said Marco Villarreal with Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “He was not close to any of the trails so we really needed that Birdseye view.”
Officials said the hiker had been without water for about four hours and was disoriented and unable to walk on his own.
“Advanced Life Support procedures were initiated while HCSO prepared to lift
the hiker out,” the fire department said.
He was treated for dehydration, airlifted out of the woods, then taken to a local hospital in stable condition, authorities said.
“Just stick to the trails, unfortunately this man did not do that — he went venturing off,” said Villarreal. “I don’t know what he was trying to do make his own trail or what, but he got far enough away that he got disoriented and couldn’t find himself back.”
No firefighters were injured during the rescue, according to officials.
“We are grateful for the life-saving work done by the deputies, the HCSO Air Unit, and our partners at HCFR,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “We are fortunate to have the necessary tools and training that are crucial in keeping our communities safe. We hope the man rescued recovers quickly.”