A Ohio family of five that went missing in the Everglades was found safe Friday after searchers heard them blowing whistles and an air horn.
Authorities say 44-year-old Scott Schreck, his wife Carrie, 42, and their three children were reported missing on Thursday after they failed to return from an airboat ride.
Early Friday morning, multiple agencies joined forces and launched a massive search and rescue operation that included several planes, helicopters, and at least six more airboats to scour a vast marshland that covers more than 1,000 square miles. Complicating matters was the fact that the Schrek’s airboat was painted in camouflage, making it nearly impossible to spot in the lush vegetation.
Officials said they found the family about 10 to 15 miles north of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission media staging area in the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. A helicopter spotted the Schreck’s airboat, which was painted in camouflage and blended in with the thick vegetation surrounding the Florida swampland.
“It was like searching for a needle in a haystack,” FWC spokesman Jorge Pino said, adding that the Schreck family was in good condition despite the fact that they endured strong thunderstorms Thursday night.
“The guy was an outdoors man. He was a savvy outdoors man … so thank God for that.”
When asked how he got lost, Scott, who was vacationing from Seville, Ohio, said that that he merely took a wrong turn while in the airboat and it led him into uncharted wilderness.
“Took a wrong turn. Had a great fishing trip. Boys had fun, wife was having fun. Came to the end of one canal, took a right and couldn’t get the boat turned around,” said Schreck.
More on the Schreck family’s Florida Everglades rescue in the video below: