Mercer students get lost in gator-infested swamp - KMSP-TV

Mercer students get lost in gator-infested swamp

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MACON, Ga. -

A group of Mercer students is recovering after getting lost while floating on inflatable rafts in a local swamp. Rescuers said they could have been attacked by hogs or eaten by alligators.

Avery and Jarred (no last names given) say they entered the Ocmulgee River at Heritage Trail Park around 3:30 p.m. Monday with two women. The four students, wearing only bathing suits, were on three inner tubes and an air mattress. They'd planned to get out in an area they'd plotted on a GPS about four miles down the river.

"We ended up where we thought there was a road, but the road was underwater," said Avery.

The students said that the person who was supposed to pick them up couldn't get within two miles.

Avery says they then waded in chest deep water to try and reach dry land in a swampy area described by one firefighter as having gators large enough to eat a person whole.

Jarred said that he's not convinced that gators posed a danger, but said mosquitoes were a nuisance. He said they deflated the air mattress and wrapped the girls in it to protect them from mosquitoes.

The group called 911 with 8 percent of their cell phone battery left. Three Macon Police officers reached them after nightfall.

Avery, from Buford, and Jarred, from Griffin, say they met at Mercer University last year and connected since both were hunters and fishermen. They now hope to reconnect with the two women they took on the river.

"Hi ladies. We just want to apologize for everything that happened to us last night – hope you go to dinner with us later this week," Jarred said.

The two men say tell they plan on going back into the river, but next time they'll enter further north and end up at a location where it'll be much safer. They said they were never in fear of lives because of previous experience in the wilderness.

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