Lost couple and dogs rescued by CCSO Aviation Unit

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Stranded with nowhere to go.

“The first thing we do is we verify the call with everybody involved, the other agencies, to make sure that they need us to go, and then we assemble our crew,” said Matt Macera, who responded to the scene.

Last week, a couple and their dogs got lost at Halfway Creek, east of Everglades City.

“That day, we had two pilots here at the office and myself,” added Macera. “I was the crew chief in the back and ran the hoist. We also coordinate with the north collier fire rescue team. And they sent two rescue specialists to us to assist with the rescue.”

Thanks to a team effort by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, North Collier Fire and FWC, the couple and their animals were safe.

“That particular day, it was extremely windy,” said Joshua White. “I believe it was a Thursday; we were gusting up to over 30 knots of wind. So, there was a lot going on up front, between myself and the copilot, trying to keep it overhead and steady for the crew chief so he could affect the hoist safely.”

Joshua White was the pilot at the time. He works in the aviation unit for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

“We got on scene, located the vessel under heavy cover, and then once we set up the rescue in coordination with Corporal Macera, whose crew chief on the crew, we set up and went in for the hoist,” added White.

Matt Macera is also a pilot, but he was in control of the hoist in the back of the helicopter.

“Every second counts. They were there overnight. So, we didn’t know. We had no information about their health. At the time, when we arrived on scene, we didn’t know if they were dehydrated, if they were hungry, if they were hurt, anything like that,” Macera explained. “So that was stuff we take into consideration, and then when we put the rescue specialists down, he was able to assess them, and they were good with their water and their health and everything like that.”

They were in a dense area surrounded by trees and couldn’t find their way out. CCSO’s air unit rescue specialists stayed with the couple, and their mud boat was guided by helicopter to safety.

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