Missing Kayaker Rescued From River After Rangers Found His Phone

Tuesday, February 4th 2020, 8:14 am
By: CBS News

A 67-year-old man set out on a solo kayaking trip on January 22 in Florida's Everglades National Park. He was due back seven days later, but he didn't show. 

Then authorities found his phone. Data on the device helped them focus their search, and hours later he was spotted – alive – in a river.

Mark Miele, from Virginia, was reported missing after he didn't return as planned, CBS affiliate WTSP reports. Park rangers found his belongings, including his wallet and his phone, on Sunday, 11 days after he started his trip. They had washed up on a bank of an Everglades river.

The Collier County Sheriff's Office said deputies then downloaded data from his device, determined his most recent GPS coordinates and launched a targeted search of the area.

Less than 24 hours after the download, authorities say they found Miele "a few miles" from where his belongings were discovered. He was found floating and wearing a life jacket, video of the rescue shows.

"First concern when we found him it didn't look like he was moving and we didn't know if it was going to be a recovery or a rescue," said Ed Henderson, a pilot who spotted Miele, CBS affiliate WINK reports.  

Henderson said authorities might have been too late it they showed up just a few hours later. Miele had hypothermia and was dehydrated, WINK reports

Authorities said on Monday he was safe and being treated at a hospital in South Florida.