Rescuers save lost hunter who spent three nights in the woods

He brought along 6 crackers for a half-day trip, a report says.

A 61-year-old man who expected to spend a few hours hunting grouse in eastern Minnesota on Monday wound up on the receiving end of a dramatic rescue three days later. 

The State Patrol says the Minnesota Aerial Rescue Team located the lost hunter on Wednesday night by using a thermal camera attached to a small plane. 

After sunrise on Thursday they were able to reach him and pull him up from a Pine County bog to the safety of a helicopter. 

Six peanut butter crackers and bog water

Newspaper reports identify the hunter as Robert Kniefel of Lakeville. 

After his first night lost in the the Nemadji State Forest, Kniefel was able to reach his family by cellphone Tuesday morning to say he needed to be rescued, the Star Tribune reports

He built a fire on an island in a bog and it was detected Wednesday night by the Aerial Rescue Team, which is a partnership between the State Patrol and the St. Paul Fire Department. 

Crews on the ground could not get to him, though, because of the thick foliage and the swampy terrain. So in the morning a firefighter rapelled down from a chopper to get him. 

Captain Steve Sampson of the St. Paul Fire Department told the Pioneer Press Kniefel was "extremely overcome with emotion and extremely grateful." 

The State Patrol posted a video showing some of the rescue. 

According to the Pioneer Press, the only food Kniefel had with him was six peanut butter crackers, which were gone on Monday. The paper says Kniefel drank water from the bogs to survive. 

Luckily, he had a lighter to help him make fires and the nighttime temperatures have been mild this week. 

The State Patrol says after the rescue he was checked out at a hospital. 

Kniefel and his family declined comment to both newspapers.

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