PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Three Jackson County teenagers are especially thankful to be home after spending Saturday night lost in heavy rain and rising water. Bryan Jones, Patrick Dickson and Christian Aguilar were on a duck hunting trip when their adventure took a dangerous turn.
Jones and Dickson are lucky scrapes and ant bites are the only remnants of their water-soaked Saturday night.
"We knew it was going to rise, we just didn't know it was going to rise as quick as it did," Jones and Dickson said.
They said flood waters rose over their heads in some especially low-lying places and gullies, turning a walk out of the woods into a frantic search for high ground. Bryan and Patrick describe a terrifying scene at the end of their duck hunting trip with their friend Christian.
"He was getting wet and almost drowning a few times," Jones said. "We had to pull him in. Me and Pat both had to jump in the water, try to get him back up."
The teens said they found shelter in a deer stand made of metal and wood, as lightening struck around them.
"We was covered up in our waders above our head like this curled up in a ball," Jones said. "All of us were tired and freezing cold."
Bryan's dad, Tom Jones, along with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, fire departments, friends and family members searched through the night to find the teens. They estimate about 100 people joined the search.
"I knew they'd find them," Jones said. "It was just a matter of time and what kind of shape they would be in."
Jones said when he saw his son's truck, he noticed a flashlight inside it. He said he was scared knowing the teens didn't have it with them.
Jones' uncle found them in the early morning hours, and brought them to safety after up to 17 hours in the cold, wet outdoors.
"When they were found, I was just so joyful," he said. "You know, you have a feeling in your heart that they're alright. But still in your mind, you have that sense of worry."
The teens want to say "thank you" to everyone who helped make sure their struggle ended safely.
"We started seeing blue lights and an ambulance. We asked my uncle how many people was up there, he said, 'I guess everybody you know,'" Bryan Jones said. "I guess that's why you got friends. Just to come help you when you need them."