MANATEE -- Maybe it was the frightening feeling of responsibility for the $100,000-plus Marsh Master swamp vehicle they had left behind when they were rescued.
Or maybe it was just pride that they weren’t going to let themselves get defeated a second time by a little ol’ Myakka City swamp.
Whatever it was, something drove surveyors William M. Pyle and Mark M. Coxwell to go back into Myakka City’s Flatford Swamp on Thursday after having to be rescued from the same place Wednesday by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
And guess what?
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The pair had to be rescued again Thursday as the swamp got the best of them for the second time.
“Flat Ford Preserve can be very inhospitable,” said Chief Dan Cacchiotti, of the Myakka City Fire Department, which administered treatment for mild dehydration to the men after both rescues. “We have some very rough areas out here.”
The story begins with the Southwest Florida Water Management District contracting with engineers Singhofen & Associates to survey elevations in Flatford Swamp, said Robyn Felix, a spokeswoman with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Singhofen & Associates hired surveyors Pyle and Coxwell, who entered the swamp at 7650 Wauchula Road on Wednesday.
Their employer supplied them a Marsh Master, an aluminum vehicle with tracks that is driven with levers like a tank and can grip swampy vegetation in shallow water.
It is not known how much experience the men had in swamps or with using the Marsh Master, which has a 40-year record of helping humans navigate swamps, said Kathy Glim of Coast Machinery LLC, the Baton Rouge, La., manufacturer of Marsh Master.
The Marsh Master is often used to set power line anchors, cut rights of way and do surveys, Glim said.
The men checked out from a local motel Friday before they could be interviewed.
But what is known is that they called the sheriff’s office Wednesday saying they were stuck in the swamp, had consumed all their water, and didn’t know how to get out.
“When you get out in a swamp, unless you have a global positioning system, it’s easy to get turned around,” Glim said.
The pair needed a sheriff’s office helicopter to lead them out of the swamp, according to a report by MSO Sgt. James Andersen.
But apparently against the wishes of their boss, the men decided to take on the swamp the next day to get the Marsh Master.
“According to their boss, Gordon Niles, the two did not follow his specific directions and took it upon themselves to do what they did today,” Andersen said in his report, regarding Thursday’s events.
“Gordon Niles advised that he would be sending more people who will be better equipped with a better plan to the area to assist with recovering the vehicle in the swamp.”
“They probably felt re- sponsible for the vehicle they left in the swamp,” said sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow when asked why he thought the pair went back.
It was not known late Friday if the Marsh Master had been recovered.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686