Drone plays crucial role in search of missing hunter in rural Langlade County

Wolf River Volunteer Fire Department
Wolf River Volunteer Fire Department(WSAW)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 10:22 AM CDT
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ANTIGO, Wis. (WSAW) - A nearly five-hour search for a missing hunter in a rural part of Langlade County has ended with a positive outcome.

Langlade County Sherrif Mark Westen said the man called dispatch around 8:30 p.m. Thursday night to say he was lost. The man was in an area with poor cell service and it took a number of phone calls to get an idea of his location.

Wolf River Volunteer Fire Department Chief Alex Emerich said their agency received coordinates from Langlade County from the man’s cell phone. Emerich said a thermal imaging drone was brought to the location and the man was located with its help.

“He did everything right,” Chief Emerich said. He explained the man stayed in the same spot while a crew of nearly two dozen attempted to locate him. Chief Emerich said the recovery was particularly difficult as the man was in an area hit by the derecho in 2019. “It was likely getting through a jungle,” Emerich said.

He explained they found the man with the drone at 11:30 p.m., but it took two hours of walking to get out of the woods. Emerich said the man is from southern Wisconsin and just got too deep into the woods.

The drone used in Thursday night’s search was purchased last year with money raised through a fundraiser. Emerich said it’s already been used several times for searches.

The search area was about 30 minutes northeast of Antigo.

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