A sky diver whose parachute went about 3 miles off course Sunday night landed in a swamp and was found by rescuers using GPS coordinates from the man’s cellphone.

The man, identified by Lebanon fire officials as Peter Shikli, 66, of California was reported missing Sunday night after he jumped from a plane shortly after 8 p.m.

Erin Becker, a spokeswoman for Skydive New England in Lebanon, said the man was an experienced, licensed sky diver with about 400 dives. Becker said the man’s parachute did not malfunction, but he somehow flew off course and landed in a remote area. Shikli’s target landing area was Upper Guinea Road.

“Based on where he was flying his parachute, we knew he wasn’t going to make his target landing area,” Becker said.

Becker said Skydive New England immediately sent out a crew to look for the sky diver, but called for police assistance about 40 minutes later when it couldn’t find him and darkness began to fall.

Shikli landed safely in a swamp near Route 202, but was disoriented and unsure of his exact location, according to the Lebanon Fire and EMS Department. He heard rescue sirens and called 911. His general location was determined using GPS coordinates, but he was not able to stay on the phone because its battery was dying, according to fire officials.


The phone coordinates placed the missing jumper near 540 Carl Broggi Highway in a “very swampy area off the road,” the officials said.

Searchers set up a command post in the vacant lot next to Southern Maine Storage and launched a search for Shikli. A series of horn blasts and sirens was used to help orient the missing skydiver to his own position in relation to the highway, according to fire officials. Warden Carleton Richardson of the Maine Warden Service went into the swamp to search and made voice contact with the missing man at 10:20 p.m.

Fish and Game Warden Richardson and skydiver Peter Shikli, who was rescued Sunday night from York County swamp (Photo courtesy of Lebanon Fire-EMS)

Fish and Game Warden Carleton Richardson, left, stands with Peter Shikli, the sky diver who was rescued Sunday night from a swamp in York County. Photo courtesy of Lebanon Fire-EMS

The warden and Shikli got out of the swamp at 11:03 p.m.

“The sky diver was wet and tired from his ordeal but remarkably not injured,” the Lebanon Fire and EMS Department posted on Facebook. “He reported that, from the air, he thought he was landing on a small hill with alders and shrubs. He had no idea that he was entering a mosquito-filled swamp.”

All other sky divers aboard the aircraft “were able to land uneventfully at the original designated landing area,” Becker said in an email early Monday.

After the California man was checked out by EMS, Richardson brought him and his parachute back to the Skydive New England building at 40 Skydive Lane.

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