MIAMI (CBSMiami) — An elderly man is recuperating in a Homestead hospital after he went missing while in the Everglades.

Eighty-year-old Rick West, a bird researcher from Tallahassee, shared his story of survival.

West was researching birds with his 17-year-old grandson on the Coastal Prairie Trail on Wednesday, June 25th.

The two had made it four miles in, he collected his data, but on the way back he ran into trouble.

“I told my grandson ‘I don’t think I could make it back go ahead and try to extricate me or find someone who can extricate me,'” said West. “I was feeling very weak and I couldn’t push my legs forward from what I thought was heat exhaustion.”

His grandson went to get help but was later unsure how to make it back to his grandfather.

Park authorities began searching for him.

Click here to WATCH Marybel Rodriguez’s report. 

“When the helicopter came I climbed up about two feet high off the ground, took off my insect jacket, and started swinging my jacket back and forth.”

West was spotted, rescued, and rushed to the hospital only to find out he had suffered a heart attack.

West, who has been researching birds for 25 years, is recovering and is grateful to be alive.

“My grandson is a trooper and medical they were very professional. They got me out and where I need to be at the hospital. Baptist hospital has been wonderful to me,” said West.




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