Two teens rescued from deep in mangroves

August 11th, 2010 by Staff

St. Petersburg, Florida — Two teens got lost and spent most of the day in thick mangroves near 4th Street and Gandy Blvd. today, police said, and were led out by rescuers this evening.

Police said one of the two teens called them shortly after 1 p.m., saying he and a friend were walking in the swamps near the Veranda’s of Brighton Bay apartments and became lost. He said the two had been in the mangroves since 9 a.m. and could not find their way out.

The caller’s cell phone battery was low and police said contact with him had been intermittent.

Police were unable to make an aerial search because of strong afternoon thunderstorms. When weather lifted, a fixed wing plane from FWC and later a helicopter were brought in and spotted the pair. FWC was able to get them out just as night fell.

“I think we stopped four or five times on the way there before we even found them,” said FWC Officer William Widener, describing the difficulty in traversing the nearly two miles of mangroves.

“I’m tired,” admitted the other rescuer on the ground, Lt. Jason Curtin. “I’m ready for a beer.”

The teens are reported to be okay, with just insect bites/stings. They were whisked away by police.

They were identified as Aaron Michael Smith and Norman John Oropeza, both 18. Smith’s father told police his son liked to explore and recently bought a machete at a flea market to hike through the mangroves.

One Response

  1. charper82011

    do u smell that? it smells like shizzzz literaly!!!!

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