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Florida Firefighters Rescue Disoriented Python Hunters

MIAMI (AP) — Two young men who became "stranded and disoriented" while taking part in a python hunt in Florida's Everglades were rescued Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The Broward County sheriff's office said in an email Thursday night that units responded to a call about the missing men at about 4 p.m. Air rescue units began a search of the area, and the hunters were found about a half-hour later at a location 15 miles west of U.S. 27 at the northernmost border of the county. A helicopter landed in the Everglades and transported the two men to rescue units a few miles away.

The news release said the victims, ages 22 and 25, "complained of lightheadedness and weakness and were suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration." Firefighters were told they were from Tennessee. The men, who have not been identified, were treated at the scene and declined to be transported to a hospital.

More than 1,500 participants of a month-long python challenge have helped to capture 50 Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission updated the counts Tuesday for the "Python Challenge." The competition began Jan. 12 and ends this Sunday.

No one knows for sure how many pythons live in South Florida. Wildlife officials say eradicating pythons from the Everglades was never the goal of the challenge. Instead, they hoped to raise awareness about the snake's threat to native wildlife and the fragile Everglades ecosystem. The snake faces both state and federal bans.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



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