Missing canoers found safe on Alafia River

- A young couple is back home after what they thought would be a quick canoe trip turned into a 16-hour overnight on the Alafia River.

Bobby and Kayla Moore say they launched their canoe from Lithia Springs Park around 5 p.m. Saturday. They planned to return to their family's camp site in time for dinner, but as darkness fell without any word from the young couple, friends and family soon became worried.

Hillsborough County marine and helicopter search units arrived shortly after 11 p.m. Facebook messages prompted more than two dozen friends and loved ones from across the Bay Area to join them in the search.

Daylight faded quickly on the heavily-wooded Alafia River, something the Moore's say they underestimated.

"Once it started to get dark, I just wanted to be off the river," said Kayla.

Bobby, a self-described survivalist, quickly put his Eagle Scout training to use weaving a blanket out of palm fronds to keep the couple warm during the night.

Once the sun rose, the Moores began their two-hour journey back to Lithia Springs Park, where they surprised a large group of familiar and relieved faces waiting in the canoe launch area.

"We're just tired, a little dehydrated, but otherwise good," smiled Bobby, who explained next time he heads out on a canoe; he'll bring more than just two bottles of water.

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