1. #1
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    Jul 2001

    Default Rescuers become the rescued when rescue hovercraft sinks


    Dec. 31, 2002

    Hovercraft crashes during rescue

    The Post-Crescent
    OSHKOSH — A Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department hovercraft returning from a successful rescue on Lake Winnebago struck an ice shove and sank near Oshkosh late Monday.
    The incident led the sheriff’s department to summon a Coast Guard helicopter from Traverse City, Mich., to rescue six people left stranded on the shove. Sgt. Todd Christopherson of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department said it appeared none of the people aboard the returning hovercraft — the four-person Oshkosh Fire Department hovercraft crew and two Oshkosh brothers rescued from their own ailing, home-made hovercraft — were injured when the rescue craft crashed.
    The Green Bay-based Eagle 3 helicopter was monitoring the six stranded people from above. Christopherson said the damaged rescue craft was “submerged.” The craft was one of two sent onto the lake in search of brothers, Steve Loos, 44, and Jeffrey Loos, 48, who were reported missing on the lake hours after reporting trouble with own hovercraft that afternoon.
    The pair and their hovercraft were found unharmed at about 10 p.m., after an extensive search of the northern part of lake by sheriff’s department’s hovercrafts stationed at Oshkosh and Menasha, and Eagle 3.The brothers called their wives to report trouble with the craft at about 3:30 p.m., about a half hour after the 17-foot-long hovercraft left shore, Christopherson said.
    The men said they expected to make repairs and return home. At about 6 p.m., after no further contact with their husbands, the wives called to report the craft missing. The Oshkosh-based hovercraft began searching the lake surface at about 6:30 p.m., with the Menasha-based hovercraft joining the search later, after the Oshkosh craft began running low on fuel, he said.
    The brothers reported their position to authorities at least twice using a global positioning system.Christopherson said it appeared the craft either drifted from the reported coordinates before rescue teams arrived, or the GPS unit was faulty.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  2. #2
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    Jul 2001



    Dec. 31, 2002

    Ice rescue becomes rescue of rescuers

    By Peggy Breister
    The reporter

    OSHKOSH —- A helicopter, the Coast Guard and two hovercrafts were involved in the rescue Monday night of four men from the ice of Lake Winnebago. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 6:14 p.m. about a hovercraft experiencing engine trouble on the ice about four miles east of the carp ponds area near Asylum Bay on the east side of Oshkosh. The Oshkosh Fire Department and Menasha Fire Department responded with two hovercrafts but had a difficult time locating the hovercrafts, said Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Lt. John Matz.
    The Eagle 3 helicopter from Green Bay was called to the scene and the crew located the stranded hovercraft, he said.On the way back to shore with the two rescued Oshkosh men, the Oshkosh Fire Department hovercraft ran into some ice, had mechanical problems and began to take on water, Matz said. Two firefighters and the two rescued Oshkosh men had to abandon the hovercraft and were stranded on the ice.
    The Eagle 3 and the Menasha hovercraft returned to try to locate the four men, but it ran low on fuel, Matz said.Rescuers at the scene then requested a Coast Guard helicopter from Traverse City, Mich. The helicopter located the four men and returned them safely back to the carp ponds area.The two men originally stranded on the ice were identified as brothers Stephen Loos, 44, and Jeffrey Loos, 48, both of Oshkosh. No one was injured.
    The Oshkosh hovercraft and the Loos’ homemade hovercraft remained on the ice early this morning.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2001

    Default Rescue goes bad


    One Rescuers' Hovercraft Rescued from Lake Winnebago

    One hovercraft has been recovered so far after a rescue operation on Lake Winnebago went awry Monday night. The Menasha Fire Department's rescue hovercraft was pulled ashore around 11 o'clock Tuesday morning.

    Two fishermen and two rescuers had to be rescued from the lake. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter airlifted them to safety after the men's hovercraft broke down-- and two more sent to rescue them were damaged or trapped in the attempt.

    Although the rescue effort took many hours, it ended almost as soon as the Coast Guard helicopter arrived. When it landed on the west bank of Lake Winnebago, Steve Loos and his cousin, Jeff, were thankful to be on dry land.

    "We were just waiting to be picked up. That's all we could do, just wait," said Loos.

    The problem started around 3 o'clock Monday afternoon. The two men left Merten's Marine on the hovercraft and experienced engine trouble. "Went out fishing, then we ran into problems. So, I mean, running the hovercraft, the skirt blem, so we had lifting problems," Loos explained.

    He called his wife from a cell phone and later called police. His cell phone battery died around 6:30, and that's when police really started to worry. Temperatures were dropping quickly and rescuers were losing daylight. The Winnebago County Sheriff's Department knew finding the men wouldn't be easy.

    "The hovercraft is believed to be approximately four to six miles off the west shore of Lake Winnebago. The area is quite big, and very difficult to find someone this late at night," Lt. John Matz said before the rescue.

    It wasn't until after the Eagle III rescue helicopter arrived that the men were discovered around 10 p.m.. The helicopter is equipped with infrared heat detection, but it isn't known if that was how the pilot spotted the men. It shined a light on the hovercraft when it was discovered.

    The fishermen boarded another hovercraft. But the rescue hovercraft also ran into problems when it ran into a large chunk of ice. It had significant damage and started to take on water.
    All four men left the boat.

    "We were on safe ice, we were sitting fine, we were in clothes, it was warm," Loos said.

    The Menasha Fire Department hovercraft was then sent to their rescue-- but it became hopelessly trapped when it tried going from open water to ice. Without any more hovercrafts at its disposal, the Coast Guard was called in for an airlift.

    "And that's all we hoped for, everybody comes back, and they're safe," said Matz.

    The sheriff's department says these men are extremely lucky. After being trapped out on the water almost ten hours, they came out without so much as a scratch.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  4. #4
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    Jul 2001

    Default Stranded - Rescuers call in Coast Guard for EVAC


    Rescuers stranded on Lake Winnebago call in Coast Guard

    From the Journal Sentinel
    Dec. 31, 2002

    What happens when rescuers need to be rescued? They call in the U.S. Coast Guard.
    Two firefighters were stranded during a mission to rescue two anglers Monday evening; the anglers had been caught out on Lake Winnebago when their homemade hovercraft had mechanical problems.
    The Oshkosh Fire Department responded with a hovercraft, but it took some time to find the anglers, said Winnebago County sheriff's Lt. John Matz.
    So a law enforcement helicopter from Green Bay was sent to the lake to help officials find brothers Steve Loos, 44, and Jeff Loos, 48, both of Oshkosh.
    After the men were rescued and removed from their own stranded hovercraft, firefighters on the Oshkosh hovercraft discovered their boat had a mechanical problem. When the craft began taking on water, the anglers and firefighters were forced to get out of the boat and onto the ice.
    Another hovercraft was summoned from Menasha, but it became trapped going from open water to ice on the lake, according to the WBAY-TV Web site.
    By that time, the helicopter was running low on fuel, so authorities called the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent a helicopter from Traverse City, Mich., Matz said.
    On Tuesday, officials recovered the Menasha hovercraft from Lake Winnebago, said sheriff's Sgt. John Zimmerman. The Oshkosh craft and the anglers' craft remained on the icy lake.

    A version of this story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 1, 2003.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  5. #5
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    Jul 2001

    Default Common occurence?

    It appears that hovercraft accidents are a common occurence on Lake St. Clair. I recently came across the following article dated Dec. 29, 1998. The incident appears to be the same, only the date has changed.


    Rescue boat capsizes, sending 5 into Michigan lake

    December 29, 1998

    Web posted at: 10:24 p.m. EST (0324 GMT)

    ST. CLAIR SHORES, Michigan (CNN) -- Two would-be rescuers and the final three of a group of people who had been stranded on an ice floe in Lake St. Clair fell into the frigid water when their boat capsized Tuesday night.
    Rescuers working in 20 degree F (-7 degree C) temperatures plucked all five from the water and were working to get them to hospitals. There were no reported deaths.
    The accident happened nearly three hours after more than a dozen people became stranded when the ice on which they were standing broke away from shore near Metro Beach, about 25 miles (40 km) north of Detroit.
    "It went from a successful ice rescue to a submerged Hovercraft," Petty Officer Jeff Dyer said in nearby St. Clair Shores.
    He said the boat lost power and flooded after rescuers picked up the last three people from the ice floe.
    A 41-foot Coast Guard boat pulled four of the people from the water; a helicopter picked up the last person, Dyer said. The helicopter was en route to Selfridge Air National Guard base near Detroit to get the person to a hospital. There was no immediate word on injuries.
    The helicopter was to return Tuesday night to the Coast Guard boat to ferry the others to the base, Dyer said.
    Before the accident, crews successfully rescued at least 12 others who had been stranded.
    Officials had been concerned that fog and snow blanketing the area had diminished visibility so much that they would hinder rescue efforts.
    Despite unusually warm weather in the day, people ventured out onto the thin ice to fish on the lake, which divides Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.
    "The ice is way too thin for people to be out on it," Coast Guard Petty Officer David Sapp said. "We always get people stranded on the ice, but never this early."
    Mark Linville was out on the ice fishing when he heard the ice crack. He said he quickly scooped up the two fish he had caught and began heading to shore when the ice broke about 6 feet behind him.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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