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Coast Guard rescues modern-day Robinson Crusoe

APRIL 11 A Savannah, Ga., fisherman missing since March 28 was found Thursday on an uninhabited South Carolina island.

The Coast Guard rescued 73-year-old George Hamilton from Turtle Island, south of Daufuskie Island, after he became separated from his boat while oyster fishing, the Savannah Morning News reported. Hamilton says he survived the nine-day ordeal by eating oysters, mushrooms and cactus, and constructed a shelter made of marsh grass.

“A man can survive if you do it right,” Hamilton says in the report. “There’s one thing about going fishing: You don’t get nothing for free.”

Hamilton was wearing waders and collecting oysters when a strong wind took his 16-foot jonboat out of reach, according to the report. Hamilton says he ran after the boat but fell into an oyster bed, cutting his face and arms.

A passing boater noticed Hamilton’s capsized boat the day after he went missing and alerted the Coast Guard, the report says. A 29-hour search was launched, but efforts were unsuccessful. On Thursday a boater spotted Hamilton on the island and contacted the Coast Guard. The exhausted man was taken to an area hospital and treated for dehydration.

— Jason Fell