People in three airboats had to be rescued after they became stranded in the middle of the Everglades Sunday afternoon.
Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue used a helicopter to find the airboats, describing the rescue mission as finding a needle in a haystack. Rescuers flew several passengers at a time to Interstate 75. Authorities briefly shut down traffic eastbound on Alligator Alley near mile marker 45 so the helicopter could land.
It all started when the first airboat became stuck because of low water levels due to dry conditions. Two adults and an 11-year-old child were on-board the first boat. The second boat went out to help, but ran out of gas. The third boat then took off to help the first two, but ran out of gas as well.
"We were trying to push the boat, trying to get back to shore," said Darryl Gregory, one of the stranded boaters. "But we realized we didn't have more water or more help to get the boat to where we needed to get it."
Another boater, Scott Bednar, said pushing the stranded airboats proved to be too much for the group to handle.
"I've been stuck before, but never been stranded," Bednar said. "When you push ten feet and then you get stuck and push another ten feet, you know you're running out of energy. It's not fun."
No one was injured or needed medical attention in the incident. While those on-board the three boats were all rescued by helicopter, the disabled boats are still out in the Everglades.
@BrowardSheriff #FireRescue #Everglades rpt of 3 airboats stranded w/8-9 people on board- loc undetermined ATT #AirRescue E/R #BreakingNews — PIO-1 Mike Jachles (@BSOPIO) July 12, 2015
.@browardsheriff #BSO #AirRescue has loc 1 of the airboats and dropped a flight #medic off on the grd #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/uKDt3dr1kq — PIO-1 Mike Jachles (@BSOPIO) July 12, 2015
.@browardsheriff #FireRescue UD: #TRAFFIC Eastbound I-75 being shut down to land #BSO #AirRescue w/dtranded #boaters #breakingnews @FLHSMV — PIO-1 Mike Jachles (@BSOPIO) July 12, 2015
.@browardsheriff #FireRescue UD flight #medicine on the ground with the stranded airboaters, no medical need, 3rd airboat south of the 2nd — PIO-1 Mike Jachles (@BSOPIO) July 12, 2015
.@browardsheriff #FireRescue UD last of 8 stranded airboaters just brought in by #AirRescue all safe #breakingnews pic.twitter.com/8ebPuyWfmf — PIO-1 Mike Jachles (@BSOPIO) July 12, 2015