NOBLETON — A sheriff’s helicopter crew spotted a missing, injured man lying in a heavily wooded area in the dark and guided deputies on the ground who rescued him.
The man, 69, had disappeared after going out to check the mail at his rural home near Nobleton and was missing for more than nine hours before he was found early Wednesday, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said.
The man suffers from the onset of dementia and has nerve damage from a previous fall, his daughter told deputies. Deputies carried the man to a waiting ambulance and he was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The daughter reported the man missing just after 5 p.m. Tuesday and they started their search near Osage Street and Seminole Boulevard northwest of Nobleton on the Withlacoochee River.
The woman said she last saw her father just after 3 p.m. and that he might be injured or lost in the woods.
Joining in the search were the Sheriff’s Office aviation and K-9 units as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a bloodhound from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.
While the search was underway, a family member was able to contact the missing man via his cellphone, the Sheriff’s Office said. The man said he was injured and could hear the helicopter overhead.
The Aviation Unit located the man just after midnight. A four-minute video shows deputies in the helicopter honing in on the man using a night-vision camera as deputies on the ground approach him.
“He’s laying down, right there ... there they go,” a deputy in the helicopter says at one point. “Another 40 feet and they’ve got him.”
The Sheriff’s Office did not release the man’s name.