Man rescued from Ledyard woods dies

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Ledyard — A 71-year-old man, who had been hunting in the woods, was pronounced dead Wednesday after a coordinated search and rescue effort from authorities.

Josef Kosztala of Mystic was bow hunting in the forest off of Long Cove Road in Ledyard, Gales Ferry Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Erhart said. He was found pulseless, wearing camouflage and partially obscured by leaves late Wednesday night. He was revived before being transported to the hospital. He later died.

He had spoken on the phone with family about 5:15 p.m. About 6:30, his family called police, and emergency responders were dispatched to the scene.

Erhart said family was waiting at Kosztala's truck when emergency units arrived.

Crews went out to search, and a K-9 eventually located Kosztala at 8:05 p.m. First responders used an automated external defibrillator to revive him after finding him unresponsive. They then carried him using a Stokes basket stretcher about an eighth of a mile, navigating difficult terrain to do so, and drove him in an ATV for about another eighth of a mile, to a waiting ambulance.

Kosztala was en route to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital by 8:56 p.m.

Erhart said Gales Ferry Fire Company, Ledyard Fire Company, Ledyard police along with American Ambulance, state police with a K-9 and Waterford police with an infrared drone came to the scene to help locate and transport Kosztala. Old Mystic Fire Department and Laurel Hill Fire Company covered calls for the Ledyard and Gales Ferry fire stations.

s.spinella@theday.com

Editor's Note: This version corrects the spelling of Josef Kosztala's first name.

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