- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

HANNIBAL, Mo. (AP) - Rescuers found a northeast Missouri man stuck in a muddy area of the woods near Hannibal after a two-day search.

Authorities found Ronald Eugene Howdeshell, 69, near the Salt River on Wednesday night, the Quincy Herald-Whig reported (https://bit.ly/1qmh3LZ ). Howdeshell was in stable condition and airlifted to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois, for observation, said Marshal Miller, assistant chief of Marion County Ambulance District.

Miller said Howdeshell was stranded after his vehicle, traveling on an ATV path in a field, became stuck in the mud. Howdeshell got out of his vehicle and also got stuck. He was found near his vehicle in water but was not submerged in it.

“He had put himself in position that allowed for survival,” Miller said.

The Ralls County Sheriff’s Department received a report about Howdeshell’s disappearance on Monday night. Authorities tried to pinpoint his location with a cellular service, after Howdeshell called his half-brother, asking him for help after he had gotten lost.

“His half-brother maintained cellphone contact with (Howdeshell) for as long as he could before he lost a connection on Monday night,” Miller said.

If Howdeshell had called 911 instead, Miller said they would have been able to find him through GPS on Monday.

“Since he didn’t call 911, we weren’t able to do that,” Miller said. “Instead, we worked on a region where the tower was located that his phone was using.”

Miller said searchers scanned a 200-square-mile area to try to find Howdeshell. Storms that rolled through the area on Tuesday night made searching for him difficult, he said.

Federal, local and state officials assisted with the search.

“We were able to find a needle in a haystack with little (technological) help,” Miller said.

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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, https://www.whig.com

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