CHARENTON — A 22-year-old LSU student was found on a gas platform Tuesday night in the Atchafalaya Basin after becoming separated from a friend during a hog hunting trip and spending Monday night soaking wet in subfreezing temperatures, authorities said Wednesday.
The student, who is from Kenner but was not identified, swam across a canal in the bone-chilling temperatures in a mistaken effort to get back to his hunting buddy, authorities said.
The student removed his hip waders to keep from drowning while crossing the canal, Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputies said in a news release.
The student became separated from his hunting buddy after the student went to retrieve an item from their boat.
Deputy Robert Martin, sheriff’s spokesman, said the pair killed a hog in a nearby swamp and the student became turned around in the woods on the way back to the kill.
The student, who started the hunting trip earlier Monday at Belle River boat launch in St. Martin Parish, was reported missing at 5 p.m. the same day, Martin said.
State Wildlife and Fisheries agents, St. Martin and Assumption parish sheriff’s deputies and several volunteers and other hunters helped with the search, Assumption deputies said.
Assumption deputies searching by boat found the hunter about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on the platform, which is in a canal off the Atchafalaya Basin Main Channel and just over the St. Martin line in St. Mary Parish.
Located in the Attakapas Wildlife Management Area, the platform is 4 miles west of East Grand Lake and 2 miles west of the student’s last reported location, Martin said.
He was taken to Teche Regional Medical Center in Morgan City for exposure and hypothermia and remained there through mid-Wednesday afternoon, Martin said