AVON — According to the man who found local resident Don Farrell in a densely wooded area seven days after his disappearance, it’s pure luck he was found.
Steve Linder, a Caledonia farmer and cousin to Farrell, 70, was among hundreds of others who were searching for days for Farrell, but one area stuck out in his mind Sunday morning and he went to check it out.
“I was looking in this wooded area and I heard someone yell out,” said Linder. “I asked him out loud who he was and he said ‘Don Farrell.'”
Linder said that the spot where he finally found Farrell was almost invisible until he was standing right over him. According to news partner 13WHAM, Farrell’s family are calling the rescue ‘a miracle.’
“I followed the sound and asked ‘where are you’ and he said ‘look down,'” said Linder. “He was pretty much right underneath me.”
Linder added that he is not sure how his cousin became lost, apparently while walking on Sunday, August 9.
“I don’t know what had happened, he didn’t have his pants or belt on, and if he is allergic to poison ivy he’s going to be hurting because he was laying all in it,” said Linder. “I think he saw a deer and wanted to see where it went, then got into a tree stand.”
Farrell was found in a dehydrated condition, and was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital via Caledonia ambulance to be treated for exposure.
“He was pretty dehydrated, he definitely didn’t have much longer,” said Linder. “He didn’t have any water bottles around him, but we did get at least two inches of rain earlier in the week, so that might’ve helped.”
Linder said that family members are saying that Don is doing fine, and he will be out of the hospital in three to four days.
Despite the massive search efforts going on involving numerous law enforcement and emergency responders, including the Avon Fire Department, Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, Massasauga Search and Rescue Team, Avon Police, Avon Ambulance, the York Fire Department, Geneseo Fire and Ambulance, and Livingston County Emergency Services, Farrell, Linder said that Farrell was unaware of the search efforts going on in the community.
“Don said to me, ‘No one’s been looking for me,'” said Linden. “I said, ‘Everyone’s been looking for you, Don.”