A missing Ohio family has been found alive in the Florida Everglades after rescuers heard air horns and whistling emanating from their stranded airboat.
The Schreck family of Seville, Ohio, was stuck in dense brush so thick they could not be seen by rescuers. But the sounds of an air horn and whistling helped save the family, who went missing overnight Thursday.
The missing family’s patriarch, Scott Schreck, 44, told reporters how the airboat they were riding in got stuck in the Everglades.
“Took a right and couldn't get the boat turned around,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “This is the first time I've been out here, so obviously I'm a novice on this body of water. Not the thing to do.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission representative Jorge Pino described the Ohio family as being in “good condition” after being rescued Friday.
“We weren't able to see them, we were only able to hear them,” Pino said.
At first, the missing family was to be rescued via helicopter, but bad weather forced rescuers to scrap the plan. Rescuers subsequently were able to access the family’s stuck airboat, which was ridden back to land.
The family of five, including three young boys, borrowed the airboat from a friend and was supposed to head back from the Everglades on Thursday afternoon when they went missing.
Helicopters, planes and at least six airboats were used in the search for the missing Ohio family. The rescue effort covered 1,000 square miles -- an area surrounded by sawgrass and trees that hindered visibility.
Lt. Arnold Piedrahita Jr., a representative of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said the search was made more difficult because the airboat was painted in camouflage colors.
“It's like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Piedrahita said.
The Schrecks -- Scott; Carrie, 42; Drew, 9; Luke, 7; and Zane, who is either 3 or 4, according to CBS Miami -- spent the night in an area of the Everglades where alligators, bears and panthers are known to live.
Pino credited Scott Schreck, an avid outdoorsman, for using survival skills that helped rescuers locate the stranded Ohio family. Making noises was a big help to the rescuers, he said.
“If you get into that dense vegetation with an airboat, it's almost next to impossible to get out,” Pino said.