Click here to watch a video, courtesy of WSVN-TV, Miami.

A South Florida teen is speaking out for the first time after he and several others were rescued from a swamp.

It was the second day Albert Rodriguez and three friends ventured out by canoe from the Flamingo Campground at Everglades National Park. “It was around 4:30 when we got there, but we paddled out pretty far,” said Rodriguez.

The group then found themselves lost in the dark, but they did not know how to get back. “We just tried every way, but we couldn’t get anywhere,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he used a towel to stay close to a mile marker. “Yeah, there were some moments of frightening when you see a seven-foot gator passing right next to you, and you get a little freaked out,” he said.

Rodriguez’ mom then called 911 after he failed to return the canoe to a rental shop and had not come home. “I was just crying and praying I was really worried,” said Rodriguez’ mom.

A Miami-Dade rescue helicopter spotted the group and hoisted them to safety. “They were really nice calming us down, brought us up without a hitch,” said Rodriguez.

“I’m just so happy and grateful to everyone,” said his mom.