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3 Missing FIU Students Found Safe After Night in Everglades

The U.S. Coast Guard says three college students have been found safe in the Florida Everglades.

On its official Twitter page, the Coast Guard announced that Everglades National Park Service searchers found the three students Thursday morning and that "no medical concerns" were reported.

Earlier Thursday, Petty Officer Mark Barney said a helicopter crew had been searching for the Florida International University students after learning they had not returned from a trip collecting water samples in the Everglades on Wednesday.

The Coast Guard was notified Wednesday night, and a helicopter crew searched for them. The search resumed Thursday morning.

Barney says the students were in an 18-foot to 23-foot Mako boat.

"Just bad luck. Their engine failed and they couldn't get it back started. It happens to boats," said Ranger Tony Terry with Everglades National Park.

When it went out, the boat had two PhD candidates and a visiting researcher on board. They were taking water samples as part of a study involving the carbon cycle and climate change.

The group was in the far west part of Everglades National Park, in the mangroves along the Gulf Coast, when park rangers found them Friday morning.

"They were very well prepared compared to most people. They're not dehydrated, most people would be out of water and dehydrated right now. The communications just weren't there," Terry said.

There was no cellphone service and their VHF radio was useless, but because the researchers filed a float plan with the park, rangers knew there was a problem when they didn't show up where they were supposed to be, sparking the search.

"It's part of the job, but I'm always happy when it comes to a good ending and I feel like I'm doing my job," Terry said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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