|Monday, Nov 23, 2009|
On the afternoon of November 16th, Jamie Mosch, a hunter with no local experience, embarked on a hunt from a privately-owned inholding. When he failed to return by dark, his friends began looking for him. After about an hour, they heard a shot that they presumed Mosch had fired and fired shots in reply. Two more shots were subsequently heard, apparently further away each time. Mosch’s companions then placed a 911 call that was forwarded to the park. A search was begun, managed under ICS, and other agencies were brought in. Over the next few days, an intensive ground and air search took place that involved about 60 people. Ground searchers utilized grid searches, tactical tracking, blood hounds, cadaver dogs, and air scent dogs. Air searches were conducted and included FLIR/night vision during night operations (FLIR – forward-looking infrared – proved ineffective in this area due to the thick vegetative cover and ground water conditions). Rangers were assigned to teams as available to provide local knowledge. On the morning of November 20th, a bloodhound team found Mosch in very thick, swampy underbrush, making it necessary for them to crawl the last part of their approach to his location. He was alive and vocal and reported a hurt knee and ankle. Mosch was clad only in a tank top and long johns, having lost his shotgun and camouflage hunting clothes. He was surprised to learn it was Friday, and said he thought it was only Tuesday. He survived in part by drinking swamp water and reported catching a catfish by hand and eating it. Mosch was walked/carried overland through the swamp to a clearing where he was airlifted by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office helicopter to the incident command post. He was then airlifted by the Collier County EMS helicopter to Physicians Regional Medical Center in Naples, Florida, where he remains in stable condition, reunited with his family.