Deputies use GPS to locate missing boaters on Little Econ River


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned how authorities used technology to rescue a father and son who got lost while boating on the Little Econ River in Seminole County on Tuesday.

One of the two victims talked with Channel 9's Karla Ray, though he asked to remain unidentified. The boater said he and his son were on the river when they got turned around and had no idea where they were.

The two got lost Tuesday and weren't found until 12 hours later, on Wednesday.

"It was pretty much dark and we kind of lost our way," the boater said. "The river was high so it was leaving the banks."

The man didn't want to go on camera, but told only Eyewitness News by phone that he and his son launched on the river for an afternoon trip.

The boat's motor died and the two had to rely on snacks, flashlights and their cellphones, the father said.

Oviedo Police and Seminole County deputies used the phone's GPS to track down the father and son. They then used a high-powered spotlight from the helicopter to help guide the two as they paddled their way back.

"He was able to get on his intercom, his speaker, and tell us where we were and how far we were and that we were indeed on the river still," the boater said.

"Definitely want to shake his hand, give him a hug, high five, tell him thank you, for sure," the boater said.

No injuries were reported.