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Man returns safely after disappearing along river (video)

By JR Ortega
Nov. 27, 2012 at 5:27 a.m.
Updated Nov. 28, 2012 at 5:28 a.m.

Members of a search party wait by the Guadalupe River at the site where a  man went missing Tuesday afternoon on a ranch in the 2500 block of Lower Mission Valley Road. Two men crossed the river at this location, then split up to look for missing cattle. Only one of the men returned and police were notified when the other man didn't. The missing man was later found safe about 6:30 p.m.

MISSION VALLEY - A man whose disappearance Tuesday afternoon triggered a three-hour search of the Guadalupe River was found safe about 6:30 p.m.

Law enforcement began looking for Mark Ochoa, 35, who was separated from his father, a farmhand, with whom he had been searching for runaway cattle near the 2500 block of Lower Mission Valley Road, said Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor.

Ochoa disappeared about 3 p.m, after he and his father crossed a shallow part of the river and were separated.

Ochoa was lost and headed south for about two hours, until it became dark. He then followed the luminescence from Victoria. He ended up at the Stripes at the corner of U.S. Highway 87 and Zac Lentz Parkway.

He made a collect call to his wife, who then called 911, O'Connor said.

"These type of search and rescues are the kind we like," O'Connor said. "You couldn't have a better situation. You always fear for the worst."

The Victoria Fire Department and other volunteer fire departments searched the river, while the Department of Public Safety searched from the air. The Victoria County Sheriff's Office conducted a ground sweep and asked neighboring property owners for their assistance in the search.

"He was checked out and was fine," O'Connor said. "He's back with his family now."

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