PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A 78-year-old canoer and an 82-year-old canoer who were stranded for a day were rescued by officers with the Port Orange Police Department on Sunday.
Police said around 10:40 a.m. on Sunday officers were dispatched to Cracker Creek in the area of the 1700 block of Taylor Road in Port Orange.
Investigators said Thomas E. Kohrs and Wayne G. Foit rented a canoe and launched into Spruce Creek around 2 p.m. on Saturday, according to police.
Foit told News 6 they headed up the creek to try and see a gator.
“There were no gators up there so we turned around to come down and when we turned around the water was like a foot lower,” he said.
The tide dropped and Foit said they hit a log.
“When we did slide over it but as we did he fell sideways and the whole canoe (flipped),” he said.
Foit said they were able to overturn it but then a storm picked up and they were stuck. Foit has a prosthetic leg and was unable to help move it but Kohrs jumped in to try.
“He hit bottom but it was that mucky bottom, same stuff in the swamp that sucks you in,” he said.
When they didn’t come back, Foit’s son alerted Port Orange police Sunday morning. Foit said the two sat on a small log together waiting for help.
“I took my gun out of my gun case and we opened it up and we caught the rainwater and we were drinking that,’ he said.
The vehicle they drove in was still in the parking lot on Sunday morning, according to officers. Police said they worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and Volusia County Beach Safety team during the rescue mission.
Investigators said crews searched Spruce Creek and Cracker Creek. Around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, crews found the canoe unoccupied, according to investigators.
Police said the men were located shortly after in a marshy area along the creek near the vicinity of the 1800 block of Spruce Creek Boulevard. This is about 3,000 feet south of the Cracker Creek Campground. After the rescue, police said the men had minor injuries and minor exposure to the elements.
“It was my birthday and I told him this is going to be the best birthday I ever had in my life,” Foit said.
The men were reunited with their families on Sunday night.