BRADENTON – When a man was reported missing after hiking in a preserve, MCSO's Aviation Unit and a search and rescue team acted quickly to locate the badly weakened hiker and transport him to safety.
On April 14, MCSO deputies responded to a report of a missing/lost person who had been hiking in the Edward Change Reserve. After deputies on the ground had exhausted all means to locate the missing man, the Aviation Unit – Deputy Ray Sanders and Pilot Steve Wellman – were called to respond.
As part of the search and rescue team, Deputy Billie Wilson located the man far off the trail and stuck in a swampy area of knee deep water. The man was too weak to walk out of the preserve area and could not be carried. As darkness approached, a plan was formulated to lift the man into the helicopter. Deputy Sanders, Deputy Wilson and Pilot Wellman assisted to bring the man to safety and he was treated by emergency medical personnel.
For their expertise under unusual circumstances that led to a successful rescue, Deputy Ray Sanders and Deputy Billie Wilson were awarded the Manatee Sheriff's Department Deputy of the Month for April 2013. Steve Wellman was named Employee of the Month for April 2013.
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