SEYMOUR, Ind. (WDRB) -- A skilled hunter is recovering from a mishap in the wetlands of Muscatatuck Wildlife Refuge.
James Cole was squirrel hunting with his 19-year-old grandson Brad Cole on Friday morning. James and Brad had separated when James mis-stepped and fell in the muddy marsh.
"He got a little bit too close to the ridge, and the ridge broke off, which landed him in the marsh," said Crystal Meyer, James Cole's daughter. "The more he tried to get out of the marsh, the deeper he went. It was just like quicksand, he said.
"Thank God, he was able to get his phone and call 911."
Jackson County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Settle said it was that phone call that was imperative to rescuers, because the wildlife refuge is about 7,700 acres.
"If you get far enough in, no one's going to hear you unless somebody happens to be close in the hardwoods or the marshes," Settle said. "You could be trapped in there for a long time and you could very well even die out there."
Meanwhile, Brad Cole didn't know any of this was going on until first responders found him.
"It surprised him," Meyer said. "He had no idea it. It scared him, but he was able to stay calm and collected and be able to help. I mean, he really helped out in getting the rope to his grandfather."
Settle agreed, saying the first responders were using logs to get closer to the sound of James' voice, but it was Brad who was able to venture out to toss the rope to James.
"The grandson really saved his grandpa's life, because there was no way for us to get to him," Settle said.
That's only the first half of the battle. It then took several grown adults to pull James Cole free from the mud. Meyer said he had some bruising from being pulled out but is overall OK.
"It was just a freak accident, but he was very thankful (to be rescued)," Meyer said.
And the family has a reminder for anyone else going out to Muscatatuck.
"Just to be aware of your surroundings," Meyer said. "Even the most skilled hunter, things happen. So keep your phone on you and always let somebody know where you're going."
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