Family safe after getting lost in Everglades
WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A family who went missing in the Everglades for almost 24 hours has arrived on land and is being checked out by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Scott Schreck, 44, spoke to the media after all of his family walked off their airboat and wandered over to a waiting MDFR ambulance, about 20 miles west of Krome Avenue in West Miami-Dade, Friday afternoon. "Took a wrong turn," he said, "had a great fishing trip. The boys had fun, the wife was having fun ... we were fishing, taking pictures of the gators, caught a few bass, then I was in the Cypress tree, and I couldn't get the boat turned around."
They wound up spending the night stuck in the roots of the trees growing out of the swamp land. It was a cold and rainy night for the family of five from Akron, Ohio. When he greeted the media, the father responded to questions of how he was doing by saying, "I'm cold and wet."
The others on the trip included Schreck's wife, Carrie, 42, and their three sons, Drew, 9, Luke, 7, and Zane, 4. "The kids slept," said the father. "I made a little lean-to over the top of the airboat. We had plenty of food and water."
He said they had moments when they feared they were not going to be be found, but he knew they were saved about 3 p.m. Friday. "About 3 o'clock I heard an airboat going back and forth and back and forth."
He also admitted he lit a fire for warmth. "Sorry about that," he said turning to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Jorge Pino, who stood next to him.
"That's all right. It's survival," responded the FWC spokesperson.
A spokesperson for MDFR said the thickness of the trees made it a challenge to get to the family after they caught the rescue team's attention by making some noise. "It was very dense," he said of the brush. "It was very tough."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is now checking out the family, and they all calmly walked over to an ambulance after the father himself piloted the airboat ashore.
The children arrived wrapped in firefighters' jackets, and wandered over to the ambulance one at a time. The youngest was carried over by a rescuer and was alert and calm, like all of the family members.
Reports of the discovery of the family came at around 12:45 p.m. Pino, said of the family, "They were able to put out sounds, loud noises, horns, and one of our officers was able to hear that. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue were able to fly in a very dense, foresty area here [and spotted them]. The good news is that they're fine."
FWC reported the Schreck family went missing in the Everglades, almost a day earlier, during an airboat ride. He said the trouble in finding them came from their camouflaged airboat and the dense area of trees and brush the family somehow found themselves stuck in.
Then, the challenge was to free them from where they became stuck. "If you get into that dense vegetation with an airboat, it's almost impossible to get out," Pino noted.
The Schreck family set out on the airboat Thursday, at around 11 a.m. They were reported missing at 3 p.m. that day, in the area of Southwest 177th Avenue and Eighth Street. FWC sent out a huge contingent to search a wide expanse of the Everglades for this family if five, which included three children. "We have air assets, we have helicopters, we have fixed-wing planes and we have at least half a dozen airboats that are helping in the search," Pino said of the search. "It's like searching for a needle in a haystack," Pino added of the expanse of the Everglades and its dense canopy.
Pino said they found the family about 10 to 15 miles north of the FWC media staging area in the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. "They are in good condition," said Pino. "The guy was an outdoors man. He was a savvy outdoors man ... so thank God for that."
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