A hunter who disappeared in the Francis Marion National Forest was found weakened but alive Friday morning, officials said.
Family members of a 67-year-old Jedburg man reported him missing Thursday night after he didn’t return from a hunting trip, Berkeley County Rescue Squad Chief Bill Salisbury said.
The Rescue Squad, the Department of Natural Resources, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters searched through the night, but failed to locate the man on Thursday.
A helicopter had joined the search by Friday morning. According to Salisbury, the hunter heard the air craft and repeatedly fired his rifle to draw searchers to his location.
Crews found the man shortly before 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The hunter appeared weak from hypothermia and dehydration, Salisbury said. He also had a history of cardiac conditions.
Rescue crews used a stretcher to carry the man to safety. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries, Salisbury said.
“He was a very, very fortunate man,” Salisbury said. “The efforts from all of the agencies involved is what made this a happy ending.”