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Ohio Family Missing In Everglades Found Safe

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An Ohio family aboard an airboat in the Florida Everglades was found safe Friday afternoon. (Source: CBS4)

An Ohio family aboard an airboat in the Florida Everglades was found safe Friday afternoon. (Source: CBS4)

Peter-D'oench-600x450 Peter D'Oench
Peter D'Oench is a reporter for CBS4 News. He came to CBS4 from ...
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THE EVERGLADES, Fla. (CBSMiami) – An Ohio family is out of the hospital after being treated following an overnight adventure in the Everglades.

Scott Schreck, his wife, and three sons, were stranded in the Everglades for almost 24 hours on an airboat after making a wrong turn.

“I kind of just want to go to bed,” 9-year-old Luke Schreck told reporters at Kendall Regional Medical Center.

Luke, along with his brothers, Zane, 4, and Drew, 10, left the hospital with their parents after being checked over by doctors.

“We were on a fishing trip,” Luke explained. “We were going back and we made a wrong turn and we got stuck in these trees.”

By his side, his father explained what happened.

“I went, instead of two miles this way, I went two miles and a tenth, turned right, and we got stuck,” said Scott Schreck.

The family went out Thursday morning from a launch site off U.S. 41 more than 20 miles west of Krome Avenue in the Francis Taylor Wildlife Conservation area.

Their airboat became trapped in thick vegetation at about 5 o’clock Thursday, Schreck said.

They weren’t found until just after noon on Friday thanks to an all out search by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The family battled the elements.

Wet and cold, they wore life jackets and huddled under a make-shift shelter until they finally heard the sound of airboats and whistles nearby.

“(It was) awful,” Schreck said just minutes after arriving on dry land. The mosquitoes were bad. I started a fire though.”

By Friday evening, the Schrecks were wearing hospital scrubs and warm socks.

“It’s unbelievable what was done by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” he said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue used helicopters to search from the air and four airboats were launched as well. But FWC spokesman Jorge Pino said the airboat was difficult to find because it had camouflage.

Schreck said he fired a flare gun Thursday night but no one saw it. So he did everything he could to protect his family.

“The kids slept and then we made a little hut over the boat and a box in there and we set it up to keep the rain off. And we had rain jackets. We put them on top to keep the rain off too. And my wife and I stood there like this for 8 hours. We had plenty of food and water,” he said.

“I was kind of scared,” Luke Schreck said. “I didn’t know when we were going to get out.”

D’Oench asked Schreck if he would do anything differently the next time he went out on an airboat.

“Yeah,” he said. “Just know where you are. This was the first time I had been out there.”

“This was a perfect example of what a team can accomplish through effort like this,” said Pino. “If it wasn’t for the work of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and what was done through our work, we might not have been able to find these people.”

“It’s great,” said Aaron Marks, a Battalion Chief for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. “It’s a great part of the job to be able to help a family like this.”

The Schrecks are from the Akron, Ohio area, Pino said. They had been staying on the west coast of Florida and were using a friend’s airboat.

Schreck’s brother and a friend flew in from Ohio to greet the family at the hospital.

They plan to stay in South Florida for a few more days.

“I’d go back tomorrow,” Schreck said when asked if he’d head in to the Everglades in an airboat anytime soon. “We can handle anything.”

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