Public Education and Information Officer Jeremy Robshaw reported to the St. Johns County news desk of Historic City News that Fire Rescue personnel responded to a report of an injured hunter located in the 12 Mile Swamp Wildlife Management Area.
The call came in to an emergency operator at approximately 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Fire Rescue, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office were notified via cell phone of the distressed hunter by the victim’s hunting partner.
The hunter was found hanging by his feet from his tree stand approximately 20-22ft from the ground in a very remote section of the management area. The victim was unable to rescue himself and was trapped in a hanging position until emergency personnel could arrive to assist him.
First responders, including members of St. Johns County Fire Rescue Special Operations unit, were directed to the hunter via cell phone, shouting and woodland landmarks. The hunter was located approximately 10-12 drivable miles into the management area and an additional 200 yards through dense woods and swamp.
Rescue personnel reached the hunter and found him suspended 20+ft in the air from a stand attached to a pine tree. Firefighters used a nearby tree stand to climb up to the victim and provide immediate medical treatment while the rescue operation was prepared.
Special Operations personnel built a rope rescue system that would allow a safe and controlled lowering operation. A 24ft extension ladder was extended and a tensionless hitch was constructed for the lowering operation. The hunter was placed in a safety harness and, using the rope system, safely lowered to the ground.
The victim was secured and taken by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vehicle through the thick woods to a waiting St. Johns County Fire Rescue ambulance which transported the hunter, in good condition, to Baptist South Medical Center for treatment.
This incident is under investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.