NAPLES, Fla. — The Collier County Sheriff's Office released video showing its aviation unit locating a missing kayaker in the Florida Everglades on Monday.
Deputies said 67-year-old Mark Miele is at a local hospital in stable condition.
He left on a solo kayaking trip in Everglades National Park on Jan. 22. He was supposed to be gone a week, but he did not return on Jan. 29.
Rangers located a bag containing his wallet and cell phone on the bank of the Lopez River on Sunday.
By downloading the data on Mark's phone on Sunday night, deputies found his most recent coordinates logged on Jan. 31.
An aviation unit began a search of the area and several agencies helped rescue the man from Virginia. Those agencies included the Collier County Sheriff's Office Aviation Team and Marine Unit, the National Parks Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Byron Kerns, a former U.S. Air Force SERE Instructor, teaches survival lessons in Georgia and Florida. This weekend, he is teaching a class near the Ocala National Forest.
"The cell phone was terrific. The personal flotation device was absolutely a lifesaver in this situation," said Byron Kerns.
Officials have not said when or why the man's kayak flipped.
Here is the aviation video of the rescue:
Kerns said kayakers and hikers should carry a mirror in case they get lost.
"With the good sun, it could be seen 20 miles away if they are looking for him, but thank goodness for the cell phone," said Kerns.
Kerns suggested kayakers should carry adequate water.
"Water keeps you strong. A good human being after day four... they start to go downhill fast due to the lack of water and they become very weak," he said.
He suggests always taking a buddy along for a trip.
"There's a risk going out there alone. It is just not a good idea," said Kerns.
Miele's family is grateful to have him back safe and thanked his rescuers.
The sheriff's office released the following statement on behalf of the family:
Mark is recovering and is stable. We thank the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the National Park Service and all of the search rangers, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission. We couldn’t have worked with a more wonderful, caring, kind, and straightforward group of people. It’s a miracle he’s alive and in the condition he is in. We would also like to thank the professionals at Physicians Regional Hospital (Collier Boulevard) for their competency and caring ways.
"You never know what your will to survive will be until you're in that situation," said Kerns. "I'm really happy Mark came out okay. God Bless his family and everybody concerned."