Hikers Stranded in Florida Everglades Survive Despite Gators and Venomous Snakes
Tom Rieker and Ryan Crowder were rescued when Rieker finally got cell service after four days.
Two hikers who spent four days lost in waist-deep water while trekking the Florida Everglades say they faced alligators and venomous snakes before they were rescued.
Tom Rieker and Ryan Crowder set out to hike the Florida Scenic Trail, a 1,300-mile trek from south Florida to Pensacola, earlier this month.
"It was definitely the adventure of a lifetime," Crowder told Inside Edition.
They traveled through razor-sharp sawgrass and trudged through ankle-deep water, sharing videos of their adventures with their 36,000 followers on their Facebook page, Explorida. They ate Ramen noodles and beef jerky, and the swamp was their only source of water.
But their adventure took a perilous turn when the trail unexpectedly led them to waist-deep water. Worst still, they had no cell phone service.
They filmed the entire ordeal, including venomous snakes lurking beneath the water. They even stumbled upon an alligator in the swamp.
"He's looking right at me," one of the men says in a video.
"Keep going, man," his friend tells him. "Just keep going."
All they had to defend themselves was a knife.
But incredibly, just as they were wondering how they were going to make it, Rieker's phone picked up a faint signal and he was able to call 911.
"911, what is the address of your emergency?" the dispatcher said.
"We're not sure," he told the dispatcher. "There's water everywhere... It's up to our waist and there's alligators and water moccasins everywhere."
Two police choppers flew in to pluck the men from the swamp.
"My mom was worried; my girlfriend was worried," Rieker said.
Of his own mom, Crowder added: "You could hear her jumping up and down, 'You're alive! You're alive!'"
The men say they're relieved to be back on dry ground after being saved by authorities.
"They very likely may have saved our lives," Crowder said.
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