• Alligator. Matthew Essman/Unsplash
    Alligator. Matthew Essman/Unsplash

This sounds like the plot of a B-grade movie but it's all true people.

Just before Xmas a pair of hikers in western Florida found themselves trudging through a dark swamp, lost and very much alone.

In a Facebook post, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) said that it had received a call about two hikers who were unable to find their way back to the trailhead in Cypress Creek Preserve, an 11-square-mile natural area northeast of Tampa.

Home, like many Florida hiking areas, to a population of alligators, Cypress Creek Preserve has 30km of hiking trails, which its site notes can flood during periods of high water.

The HCSO said it “sprang into action” upon receiving the report.

The office sent out its aviation unit to search for the hikers from the air with night vision goggles and located the pair around 7:30 pm in a “swampy area.”

The unit guided deputies to the lost hikers, who were unhurt; body camera footage showed the still-smiling pair trudging through a dense forest flooded to mid-shin, with only a cell phone to light the way. HCSO said deputies successfully guided the unidentified hikers back to the trailhead.

Now if you swap alligator for crocodile and hikers for bushwalks this story could have taken place here - so be aware of your surroundings and make sure someone knows where you are going and when you are due home  - oh, and read any BEWARE CROCODILE signs!

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