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Severely injured man spends seven days alone in the wilderness

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POSTED: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 5:45pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 5:49pm

A Connecticut man who has been missing for a week has been found safe.

A state worker found Richard Roncarti, 50, around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Beacon Falls section of the Naugatuck State Forest.

He was rescued just minutes before the search was going to be called off, officials said.

Crews said Roncarti was stranded in the Naugatuck State Forest with severe injuries after falling 100 feet and having no food or water for seven days.

Emergency crews said he was lucky to be alive.

"He looked like he had been in the weather a few days. He was beat up pretty good," Chief Michael Pratt, of the Beacon Falls Fire Department, said.

Pratt said the hiker from Watertown had no idea he was stranded in the Naugatuck State Forest for so long.

Roncarti's family reported him missing last Thursday night.

His vehicle was found over the weekend, parked in the parking lot of the state forest, but there was no sign of him until yesterday.

"He said, 'I've been out here seven days.' After seven days you don't think positive. You don't think you're going to find someone alive," Pratt admitted.

Roncarti was taken to Waterbury Hospital on Thursday and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

He is expected to be released in the next few days.

Firefighters said he had a broken leg, possibly a broken hip, and he was severely dehydrated.

"Yes, it could have been a lot worse, it could have been fatal," said Pratt.

Emergency crews said Roncarti was nearly impossible to find because he didn't have a cell phone.

They want all hikers to make sure they were prepared for a worse case scenario when they hit the trails this summer.

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