BELLEVILLE — An 84-year-old hunter was lucky to have his cellphone Tuesday when he got stuck in a swamp while tracking the 10-point buck he had just shot on his birthday.
At around 3:30 p.m., Andrew Lennox, the EMS chief of the Belleville Fire Department, and Fire Chief Devon Shelmidine, responded to an unknown issue of a man down in the swamp while hunting at Southwick Beach Park.
The hunter dialed 911 with his cellphone and gave a general location. Mr. Lennox said he and the chief tracked the hunter by following his footsteps and then calling out his name. They found him nearly a half-mile deep in the woods off a trail, leaning on his side about waste-deep in the swamp, he said. The crew carried the man through the rough and deep water, until the hunter requested he walk the rest of the way to regain circulation in his legs.
“Water cools the body down about four times faster than air,” he said. “It greatly decreases the amount of time for hypothermia to kick in.”
Mr. Lennox said it was the hunter’s birthday Tuesday, and he had shot a buck. He didn’t realize how deep the swamp was before it was too late. He said the hunter was conscious and alert at the scene and was later taken to Samaritan Medical Center by the South Jefferson Rescue Squad.
“We thankfully were close to the station when the call came in,” Mr. Lennox said. “If we had been any longer, it might had been a different outcome.”