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iPhone flashlight leads deputies to lost hiker in Hillsborough woods

Posted at 11:31 PM, Dec 30, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office's Aviation Unit tracked down a hiker who got lost Sunday night in Flatwoods Wilderness Park.

"I wanted to chose a park that was local and also that had high security," said Libia Marsack. "Because I'm alone."

Marsack takes daily hikes while caring for her husband, who is in the fight of his life at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Marsack says she made her way into the New Tampa Nature Park but a couple hours later had wondered into the Flatwoods Wilderness Park.

The park encompasses more than 5,000 acres, Marsack got lost trying to find her way out as darkness set in.

Marsack called for help and within minutes, Hillsborough County's Aviation Unit was flying overhead using night vision to track her location.

"They brought peace, some comfort," said Marsack. "I just want to thank them because I know we are in the holiday season and they had to take time out being away from their families to come do this type of work."

On Monday, the sheriff's office said its aviation team tracked down Marsack, in part because she was waving the flashlight on her iPhone.

Deputies called in a park ranger to pick Marsack up and drive her more than a mile to safety.

"Rescues like this are one of the many benefits of having an expansive, well-trained Aviation Unit. Our team of deputies who fly our helicopters are constantly working from the air to assist in both rescues and arrests. I couldn't be more proud of the work they put in everyday to keep the citizens of Hillsborough County safe," said Sheriff Chad Chronister.

Despite the scare, Marsack isn't walking away from her daily hikes.

"This time, I need a map," she said.