Posted: Mar 2, 2011 11:43 PM
Updated: Mar 3, 2011 2:58 PM
After nearly four days of searching, rescuers finally located a London man missing in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Laurel County Wednesday afternoon.
Ryan Larke, 24, wandered away from his campsite Saturday evening. He spent the next 96 hours in the woods, through heavy rains and freezing temperatures. On Wednesday night, rescuers finally located Larke, just a short distance from his original campsite. Larke was wearing only a T-shirt, jeans, socks and one shoe. Rescuers found him lying in a ravine where he'd fallen, hurt, dehydrated and likely hypothermic, but alive and talking.
A search dog named Lyeze picked up Larke's trail first.
"I just followed her," Bluegrass Search and Rescue handler Andrew Tackett said.
As faint cries grew louder, Tackett and fellow rescuer Tony Brown continued to follow and yell for Larke.
"I kept yelling and we kept walking in that direction and then we finally heard 'Yeah! Help!' and we ran up to him and found him then," Brown said.
Larke told rescuers he'd crawled under a ledge during Monday's pouring rain.
"He said he drank cave water from an overhang and that he was right beside a creek. He'd been drinking water out of a creek," said Brown. "He said he heard us and he thought he was hallucinating. I said I'm sure you probably have been hallucinating for the past couple of days in the condition you've been in. But he couldn't believe we were actually there."
Crews airlifted Larke to UK Hospital, covered in blanket. At last check, he was in fair condition.
Larke told rescuers that he left the campsite just to explore nature.