River Patrol Rescues Lost Hiker

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Press Release: Madison County Sheriff's Office

Madison County Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Tuesday the 5th day of March 2013 at approximately 10:58 AM the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center was transferred a 911 call from Suwannee County from an individual advising he was trapped/stranded in the river. The individual was unsure of his location other than he believed he was somewhere between the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. The individual further advised that he had been hiking the Florida Trail and been trapped by the rising waters since the night before.

The Sheriff’s Office Communications Center utilized cell phone technology to track the location of the cellular signal to assist rescue personnel with a most accurate location.

The Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was already on “River Patrol” in the Sheriff’s Office patrol vessel and accompanied by FWC and their vessel. The river patrol units headed to the area in attempt to locate the individual.

At approximately 12:02 PM the river patrol units heard shouts for help but could not locate the subject due to the area being a heavily flooded wooded area. Eventually the river patrol units located the subject but could not get to him due to the wooded area and debris. The river patrol unit obtained a canoe from the State Park to navigate through the wooded area to complete the rescue.

The subject was identified as Steven Eller, DOB: 02/21/1983 of West Palm Beach. He was treated on scene by Suwannee County EMS and transported to Shands of Live Oak, Fl.

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