BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue has rescued all eight airboaters who were stranded out in the Everglades overnight.READ MORE: Florida Is Ditching Palm Trees To Fight Climate Crisis
The search started with one airboat running aground Saturday night. Friends on another airboat came to the rescue, but also ended up stranded. A third airboat with friends tried to recuse the other two, but they run out of gas during the search.
Mike Jachles with BSO’S Fire Rescue said they got the distress calls at about 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Jachles said finding the airboaters in the vast everglades took a lot of coordination, likening the air search like looking for a needle in a haystack.
“There are recreational boaters out there as well,” Jachles said. “So you have to identify the stranded airboaters as well the ones that are out there for recreation. So, it was a process.”
Bruce Ward is an avid airboater and friend of the ones who got stranded.
He told CBS4 reporter Donna Rapado he started to worry when he hadn’t heard from Jessie Stewart four hours after Stewart had left to rescue the other airboaters.READ MORE: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
“We were very afraid at that point,” Ward said. “It was 107 degrees out there and we were desperately looking for him. It’s some very anxious moments when someone you know is missing.”
Stewart said it’s not his first time stranded, and not a big deal to him.
“I grew up in the woods. I like being in the woods. For me it’s peaceful,” he said.
But Scott Bednar didn’t have the same enthusiasm.
“I’ve been stuck before but I ain’t never been stranded. When you push 10 feet and you get stuck and then you push another 10 feet, you’re running out of energy. It’s not fun,” he said. “I want air conditioning. I want a bed. I want food. A shower. All that good stuff.”
Part of I-75 was temporarily shut down to allow for the helicopter to land after each rescue.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In South Florida
It is believed the boats got stuck because of the high and dry conditions.