Missing kayaker rescued after lucky find

The loss of his cellphone may have been the key to the survival of a kayaker missing in the Florida Everglades.

Mark Miele, 67, was four days overdue when his bag, including his phone and wallet, washed up on a bank of the Lopez River on Sunday.

Rangers in Everglades National Park discovered the belongings and asked the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to assist in a search.

Deputies downloaded data from Miele’s phone and found his most recent location, recorded on Friday. That helped the aviation unit home in on a search area, according to the sheriff’s office.

A helicopter crew located Miele shortly before noon on Monday. He was floating in the water a few miles from where his belongings had been found.

Video from the helicopter shows the camera operator zooming in on an object in the water that turns out to be Miele, on his back, his head kept above the water by his life jacket.

Miele was transported to a Naples hospital for treatment. A statement Tuesday from his family said he was “stable and recovering.”

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