After an overnight search by air, land, and boat, Hillsborough County deputies found three boaters lost in the Hillsborough River early Tuesday morning.
Officials say they received a call from a man around 8 p.m. Monday, saying the men were stuck in a swamp, and unable to find their way back to John B. Sergeant Park, where they launched the canoes.
The only cell phone they had with them died a short time later, making it harder for search parties to find them.
"I left my phone in the car. They brought theirs. One dropped it in the water. The other had one in a ziplock bag. By the time we realized we were stranded, we called 911," one of the men, Adam Sadberry, later told FOX 13 News. "His phone died. They almost found us. They were right above us and then his phone died and we were just stuck."
HCSO K-9 deputies were sent in to track them, but were unsuccessful due to the swampy conditions.
Crews eventually spotted the trio, they say, in a massive tract of land spanning about 16,000 acres. EMTs were on hand to check them out once rescuers led them ashore.
According to HCSO, they have to launch a search and rescue operation like this an average of 15 to 16 times every year.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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