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Stranded kayaker rescued after missing for more than a week

Kayaker Rescued in Collier County
Posted at 6:51 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 18:51:01-05

COLLIER COUNTY — Incredible video showed the rescue of a missing kayaker in the everglades on Monday.

Deputies and state wildlife officers pulled 67-year-old Mark Miele out of the Lopez River, where he had been floating with only a life jacket for days. In total, Miele was out on his own in the everglades for 12 days. He was on a solo-kayaking trip, and he was supposed to finish on January 29th, but when he didn’t show up, deputies went looking for him, and on Sunday, they found his belongings washed up on the bank of the Lopez River.

In the video, you can see him floating in the water as deputies rush in on their boat to save him. When they found Miele’s belongings, they found his phone, and were able to download the data off it. That let them see his most recent coordinates, which ultimately narrowed the search down to find him. He is doing okay at this time in Physician’s Regional Hospital. We had the chance to speak with a man who does tours in the everglades to get an idea of just how dangerous of a situation Miele was in.

"I’m just amazed that he made it, and by the grace of God he was not only lucky, he was very fortunate not to have any alligators come after him or any other animals," said Cpt. Jack, owner of Captain Jack's Airboat Tours.

When deputies checked Miele’s phone, he last entered his coordinates on January 31st. That means he may have capsized and then floated down the river for four days before he was finally rescued.