Missing man with dementia found by HSCO helicopter after wandering onto train tracks

Eyes in the sky helped bring a missing elderly man home. 

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit was able to find the man with dementia curled up on a railroad track just after midnight. 

Sheriff Chad Chronister praised the work of his deputies and aviation unit who were able to bring that man home safely to his family.

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Video from the chopper shows the moments they spot the man, in the audio, deputies called for the railroad to shut down the tracks and the pilot then directed deputies on the ground to the man’s location.

Moments later, video shows several deputies walking the tracks towards the man, who was rescued and taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

This all happened outside the Brandon Veterans Hall. Army veteran Jerry Tuttle said trains come through here often, and he’s glad the man was found safely. 

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"That's kind of a scary thought because it is a busy track. And luckily for him, they found him, due to the assets that they have available for him, which is fortunate," said Tuttle.

The man was found on the train tracks.

The man was found on the train tracks. 

Tuttle is celebrating retiring from the Army after 30 years and four deployments. He knows a little something about how helpful helicopters can be when every second counts.

"Without that, it may have taken, who knows how long, but when you have an asset like that, and it's overhead, it's easier to find what you're looking for as opposed to just kind of on the ground searching. I think it's really, really awesome that they have that asset available," shared Tuttle.

The sheriff’s office encourages anyone with a loved one diagnosed with a cognitive condition to register for SafetyNet, which is a program used by law enforcement agencies to help locate them should they go missing. 

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