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'Evening temperatures never got too cold': Man missing in woods since Monday found OK

Search and rescue crews spent 3 days searching for Oliver Mercer, 58, of Lebanon. The search started October 31 when Mercer failed to return from mushroom picking in the Rocky Top area near Green Peter Reservoir. (SBG)

SWEET HOME, Ore. - A mushroom hunter missing since Monday flagged down a fishing boat Thursday morning and got a ride back to a boat dock, the Linn County Sheriff's Office said.

Search and rescue crews spent 3 days searching for Oliver Mercer, 58, of Lebanon.

The search started October 31 when Mercer failed to return from mushroom picking in the Rocky Top area near Green Peter Reservoir.

Mercer told searcher and rescue that he got turned around after picking mushrooms all day.

He walked 2 miles south down to Green Peter Reservoir. From there, he walked another 5 miles along the water's edge in hopes of getting back to Rocky Top Bridge.

"Mercer said that although he was unable to start any fires, the evening temperatures never got too cold and he was able to make a bed out of fir boughs," the sheriff's office said November 3. "At approximately 10 a.m. today he flagged a fishing boat down who in turn gave Mercer a ride to the boat dock where he was reunited with his friends."

The Linn County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue was assisted in the search by the Lane County Sheriff's Office, Marion County Sheriff's Office, Oregon Army National Guard, REACH air ambulance, the US Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, Polk County Sheriff's Office ATV Team and the Civil Air Patrol.

"Over the three days of searching, over 90 members consisting mostly of volunteers contributed over 750 man hours," the sheriff's office said in a press release.

"Successful searches such as this could not be made possible without the collaborative and professional relationship shared by all the agencies involved," Sheriff Bruce Riley said.

The sheriff's office asked to use this opportunity to remind citizens to always be prepared to spend a night outdoors.

RELATED | 10 things to carry in case you get lost in the woods

Search and rescue recommends people carry:

  • Map of the area
  • Compass or GPS
  • Extra dry clothes (no cotton)
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Fire starter or matches
  • Knife
  • Extra food and water

"Also a Spot Locator or similar device is ideal and can help searchers locate you in time of need," the sheriff's office said.

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