Missing hunter found alive, receives 'happy' meal
PEARL RIVER - A man who went missing for several days following a hunting trip to the Honey Island Swamp area has been found alive in the woods, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
42-year-old Robert "Rob" Varnado, of Mississippi, had last been seen Thursday in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area.
Search teams in St. Tammany Parish first spotted Varnado on a river bank on Tuesday. Members of the search party said Varnado was hungry and thirsty when they found him, but was otherwise in "good spirits and good health". One of the deputies fed the wayward hunter with the lunch he had just picked up from McDonald's.
WWL-TV reported Varnado had been scouting potential hunting locations with a friend when they became separated on Thursday. After a storm moved through the area, rising water cut the hunter off from his friend and prevented him from tracing his route back to the bank of the river.
For four days, Varnado survived without food, drinking rain and river water to remain hydrated, according to the sheriff's office.
"I could not be more pleased with the outcome of this ordeal, and we are all very thankful that Mr. Varnado was found alive and well," St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said. "I can only imagine what he endured in that swamp for six days in the cold and at times very rainy weather."