With the help of a drone, racing against nightfall, Southampton Town police quickly located two lost hikers in Sears-Bellows County Park near Hampton Bays on Monday.
Police received a call at 5:06 p.m. from the hikers, who had lost their way on the park’s extensive trail system. Town officers were met by Suffolk County Park Rangers at the main entrance to the park. "The team of officers, realizing the county park size and the freezing temperatures would be a factor in the welfare of the hikers, contacted Southampton Town Police Unmanned Aircraft Unit to respond with drones to aid in the search," according to a police statement released on Tuesday.
Via cellphone, the Southampton Town Communications Division made contact with the lost hikers, who were able to describe their surroundings. They were told to stay put. At 5:51 p.m., a town officer, familiar with the park, pinpointed their location.
The hikers were identified as William Zwart, 69, and David Berchenbriter, 65, both of Shinnecock Hills. They were found, cold but unharmed, by Sears Pond, which is in the middle of the park. Police used an off-road vehicle to transport them back to their vehicles.