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Officer tells story of dramatic swamp rescue

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Updated: 6/28/2013 11:08 am
ST AUGUSTINE, Fla.-- It's the rescue of all rescues. Four days in the swamp, hours of manpower all focused on one thing: saving Gus Baker's life.

Officer William Lawshe headed up the search to find the 55 year-old. "It took several hours to figure out who could get there to get him out," Lawshe said.

Baker wandered off from Turkey Island Hunt Club Thursday and became disoriented. He had no food or shelter, and according to friends, was off his medicine. Knowing that, Lawshe and his crew trudged through terrain and cut down vines, all while yelling Gus' name. At times, it was so dark, they could only see two or three feet in front of them. Finally, in the distance, they heard a reply.

"We were yelling Gus, we got food, we got water, where are you at? Are you ok? Rich yelled that and we got a real clear back yes," Lawshe said.

When rescuers found Baker, he was perched on top of a stump, shivering in knee deep water. He was so weak, hoisting him up into a chopper was only the solution.

Lawshe says his military background played a huge role. He saved first, asked questions later.

"There's a gentleman in there, a person. You don't think about it. You just go," Lawshe said.

When Baker was secured, he was taken to a Flagler County hospital cold, dehydrated and hungry. Despite the wild adventure, he's expected to make a full recovery.

"I'm just glad I was able to do that and we're able to get everybody and that he's home safe."
 

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