University Prez Survives 4 Days Lost in Swamp

Missing Colombian prof Francisco Piedrahita rescued in Louisiana

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 27, 2011 1:57 AM CDT | Updated May 27, 2011 3:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – A distinguished Colombian academic "became Rambo" to survive 4 days lost in Louisiana swamps, his sister-in-law says. Francisco Piedrahita, 65, a university president and renowned humanitarian, became lost during what was supposed to be a brief birdwatching jaunt in the vast Jean Lafitte National Park. Piedrahita, who had nothing to eat or drink during the ordeal, managed to avoid the snakes and alligators that abound in the area, the Times-Picayune reports.

Rescuers praised Piedrahita for doing what people lost in wilderness are supposed to do: Stay put. He spent most of the time knee-deep in mud on a small island in the middle of a swamp. Piedrahita, who was found exhausted, dehydrated, and covered in hundreds of insect bites, is recovering in a local hospital. "He is in surprisingly good shape after having been stuck in the swamp so long," says a doctor, who was surprised to hear that the professor had not had any survivalist training.

Francisco Piedrahita's wife Claudia, left, gives him a kiss as he is transferred to a waiting ambulance as rescue and search team members wait in the background.
Francisco Piedrahita's wife Claudia, left, gives him a kiss as he is transferred to a waiting ambulance as rescue and search team members wait in the background.   (AP Photo/The National Park Service via The Times-Picayune, Linda Friar)
Francisco Piedrahita is wheeled into West Jefferson Medical Center  in Marrereo, La., Wednesday, May 25, 2011.
Francisco Piedrahita is wheeled into West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrereo, La., Wednesday, May 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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He's one of those people who has to have everything so clean and orderly. But out there he became Rambo to survive. - Piedrahita's sister-in-law

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