Slidell woman rescued after being lost 24 hours - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Slidell woman rescued after being lost 24 hours near Honey Island

Updated:
Sandy Pierce, speaking with FOX 8's Rob Masson Sandy Pierce, speaking with FOX 8's Rob Masson

It's been a tense 24 hours for a Slidell family, after a wife and mother went missing near the Honey Island swamp.  Searchers from three different agencies worked through the night before the kayaker turned up safe.

With the Coast Guard searching by air and a small armada scouring the West Pearl River, family members waited at the boat launch.

For 24 hours, Randy Pierce couldn't believe his wife Sandra was lost on a kayak in the swamp, "I've been torn up all morning, I figured we would find her last night," said Pierce.

Then, around noon, 51-year-old Sandra Pierce was found near Gum Bayou.

More often than not, victims are not found safely after such search and rescue efforts. This wasn't one of those times.  Pierce survived near freezing temperatures thanks to a thermal blanket and a survivalist's instinct.

Her kayak got stuck, she got wet but she was prepared.  Husband Randy said," I always knew that if anyone were to walk out of this swamp, she's right there.'

The ordeal began early Thursday morning when the victim went out to help a DJ from California film a music video off the river.  Sandra was following along in her kayak when she took the wrong turn.

Sandra Pierce has done a lot of kayaking. She paddled across Lake Pontchartrain three years ago.

While Sandra was prepared for the ordeal, she did leave a vital piece of equipment behind. Her husband Randy said, "She has a cell phone and left it on her table."

And after a bitterly cold night in the swamp, that's a mistake that the Pierces say will never be made again.

The Honey Island swamp area has a lot of alligators, but the recent cold snap forced them into their dormant period. Sandy Pierce was treated for a mild case of exposure and released.

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