September 21, 2017 03:24 PM
A hunter who was reported missing Tuesday morning was found safe at the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin Thursday morning, according to the Pine County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's office said it was the hunter, 61-year-old Robert Kniefel of Lakeville, who called about 6:45 a.m. to report that he was lost somewhere in the Nemadji Forest area. But because of spotty service, the information was limited, the sheriff's office said.
A two-day search by more than 50 people, multiple public and private agencies -- including with K-9s, ensued in Pine County and portions of Douglas County, Wisconsin. A State Patrol helicopter was used Tuesday, and a Department of Natural Resources helicopter was used on Wednesday, though the sheriff's office said aerial searches were made difficult by heavy foliage.
Hundreds of miles of ATV/snowmobile and hiking trails were searched by Wednesday with no results, the sheriff's office said.
Finally, a State Patrol airplane equipped with thermal imaging equipment found a person on an island with a fire going about 9 p.m. near the Net Lake Campground in Pine County. A rescue under cover of darkness through the swampy area was unsuccessful, according to the sheriff's office.
Just after sunrise on Thursday morning, a State Patrol helicopter carrying a rescue extraction team located Kniefel and airlifted him with a rope and harness. He was lifted to a nearby farm field where he was treated by awaiting medical personnel.
Kniefel told authorities he had rationed the food and water he had with him, but knew that a search was on for him.
Rebecca Omastiak and Michael Oakes
Updated: September 21, 2017 03:24 PM
Created: September 21, 2017 08:20 AM
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