MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two women are safe Friday after getting lost in a Long Island nature preserve.

They say it was pitch dark and they could not find their way out of the woods.

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Thursday was a glorious November day for hiking and relaxing, and that’s exactly what two New York City women did, heading east to Massapequa Park.

The preserve on Long Island is 423 acres and includes a lake, streams and numerous footpaths, many heavily wooded.

“Especially if you’re disoriented, you can’t tell the difference between the larger trails and the smaller trail,” hiker Joe Gugliero told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

The sun was setting and the two Queens friends became confused and called 911. Aviation responded.

“We launched from here at approximately 6:30 in the evening,” said Lt. Joe Grella, commanding officer of the Nassau County Police‘s Seventh Precinct.

Nassau County Police used a helicopter with infrared night vision with heat-sourced technology to locate two lost hikers in Massapequa Park. (Credit: Nassau County Police)

The women were in a panic. Officer Gregory Millwater activated the infrared night vision with heat-sourced technology.

“Once I located them on the infrared, my pilot actually spotted their cell phone waving, and then I already had them on the camera, so initiated our tracker beam, which is the spotlight,” Millwater said.

The worried victims were found safely on a muddy path near a fishing stream.

The rescued women, ages 63 and 64, declined CBS2’s request for an interview. Although embarrassed, they said over the phone they are supremely grateful to the Nassau Police and its helicopter.

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“Within about four minutes of the helicopter arriving on scene, the flight crew was able to locate the missing persons,” Grella said.

It was pitch dark by then.

Massapequa Park (Credit: CBS2)

“They’re not from around here. You’ve got to start very early,” hiker Mary O’Leary said.

“In the night time, it’s not really good to really walk through these trails because there’s really not enough lighting,” hiker Anthony Espinol said.

The women said they had forgotten about Daylight Saving Time and embraced the officers who found them.

“It’s a great feeling, it’s a great feeling … saving somebody,” Millwater said.

Huge smiles of happiness from the rescuer. The victims say next time, they’ll take a morning hike.

The women were not hurt, just scared and getting cold. They gave a big thank you to the Nassau police.


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