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GPS helps Collier County crew rescue hiker stranded in Fakahatchee preserve

A daring rescue was caught on camera. Video captured a hiker getting hoisted up into a Collier County Sheriff’s Office helicopter. He can thank his GPS for saving his life.

Zachariah Goff sent an SOS signal with his GPS and says he was nearing heat stroke in the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve recently. Deputies were able to find him and get him to safety.

Luckily, Goff went hiking in the preserve prepared, or he could still be out there.

With his GPS, he was able to send a signal so someone could call 911 and locate him even through the thick woods.

“If you get lost or injured, you can send out that SOS. That can be picked up by law enforcement. There are search entities out there that can find that very simply,” said Rich Kolko, WINK News’ Safety & Security Specialist.

Once they pinned Goff’s location down, the CCSO aviation team determined Goff could not be rescued by ground, so they used a rescue helicopter and lowered a deputy to get Goff.

“Being prepared is critical and important for safety and security,” Kolko said. “Having a smart phone that’s got a GPS or a hiker’s version that’s got a GPS, in this case it saved a life.”

Goff was treated for exhaustion and dehydration.

He posted on Facebook that he was released from the hospital around 1 a.m. Monday and thanked everyone who helped save him.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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