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  1. #1
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    Default 2003 Winter Water Rescue News

    Rider, dog die in fall through ice
    Lake Louise ice claims first victims of winter

    Anchorage Daily News

    November 14, 2003

    A Glennallen-area man drove his snowmachine through thin ice near the shore of Lake Louise in the first snowmachine fatality of the winter.

    Thomas Graham, 63, was riding from his home on Susitna Lake to the weekly Wednesday potluck dinner at Wolverine Lodge, on adjacent Lake Louise, when the accident occurred, lodge owner Robert "Tree" Farmer said.

    "He'd been stuck there (at his home) since freezeup," unable to travel by boat or snowmachine, Farmer said. Lake Louise had frozen earlier in the year, then thawed. The northern end had refrozen, but ice on the southern half was only about an inch thick, he said. A recent snowfall had covered the lake with 4 to 6 inches, he said.

    "This was his first trip out," Farmer said

    With his pet beagle Tracker, Graham traveled south along the shore, visiting friends along the way, Farmer said. Less than half a mile from where he would normally drive off the lake and onto the end of Lake Louise Road, Graham steered his machine around exposed rocks, hit thin ice and drove into the water.

    Nobody saw him go through, Farmer said. A friend who had seen him minutes earlier and was driving his four-wheeler down the beach noticed Graham's helmet lying near the hole.

    Cracking and breaking ice prevented him from reaching the open hole, so he called the lodge by cell phone. Farmer and several others quickly arrived, including one person who drove an airboat through the thin ice to create a lead of open water.

    Farmer said the rescuers found Graham in less than 10 feet of water. Sadly, the lodge owner added, Graham was only a few feet from the underwater shelf along the lake's edge.

    "He was maybe six feet away from where he would've been able to stand up," he said.

    After hooking Graham's backpack, rescuers hauled him out of the water and began resuscitation as they drove him to the lodge in the airboat. Emergency trauma technicians continued trying to revive Graham, but the Alaska State Troopers called off the attempts after about 90 minutes, Farmer said.

    "He was maybe six feet away from where he would've been able to stand up," he said.

    "They did an admirable job trying to resuscitate a friend," he said.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  2. #2
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    Default Family prays for the 'impossible'


    November 22 » 2003

    Family prays for the 'impossible'

    Florence Loyie
    The Edmonton Journal

    Friday, November 21, 2003

    EDMONTON - Ivan Clancey was on his way home to pick up his family for church when his car rolled and slid into a water-filled drainage ditch Wednesday evening.

    Clancey, 56, spent 30 minutes submerged in the icy water as rescuers worked frantically to save him. He had no pulse when he was pulled from his crumpled black sedan. Paramedics brought him back to life as they rushed him to hospital, where he was listed Thursday in critical but stable condition.

    Family friend Dianne Hazlett said Clancey's family is at his bedside, and relatives are flying in from across Canada to give support. The family is originally from Newfoundland.

    Everyone is praying Clancey will make a full recovery, Hazlett said. "We are all very hopeful and very positive. We believe the impossible can become the possible. The doctors are suspecting a number of things, but we are going to have to wait for the next 24 hours -- time will tell."

    Clancey was on his way home from his job as general manager at CSE Power Products when the accident happened just before 6:30 p.m. He was driving east on a service road beside 63rd Avenue near 91st Street when his car slid over the curb and between a guardrail and the edge of the drainage ditch. The car toppled off the embankment and slid upside down, breaking through the ice in a storm-water drainage ditch.

    Several passersby tried to rescue Clancey but could not open the car's locked doors or break the window glass.

    Emergency crews arrived quickly and two firefighters waded into the water immediately. The water was chest-high and full of mud and oil.

    A tow truck and a four-wheel-drive truck arrived. The 4X4 anchored the tow truck while it tried to haul the car from the water, but the cables broke. Working together, the tow truck and a fire truck finally pulled the sedan out.

    Mike Dawood and another firefighter, both wearing wetsuits, climbed into the car and pulled Clancey out. Dawood said it took a few seconds to get Clancey out because he was strapped in and slumped in a bad position.

    "I could tell from the first moment I looked in the car that he was unconscious. He had been under water for quite a few minutes at that point. His head was covered with the mud and slime from the bottom of the ditch, and it smelled like swamp."

    Dawood said incredible teamwork by civilians, police, paramedics and firefighters got Clancey out of the car and breathing again.

    "I've been on dramatic rescues before, but this was different. There were so many on scene. When I arrived on scene, there was a police officer on top of the car wrapping the tow cable around the axle. I thought it was amazing how the police were helping the firefighters, even the civilians.

    "That one guy who saw the plunge as it happened, he actually ran in there and was trying to break the glass.

    "I sure hope (Clancey) comes through because we are all rooting for him."

    Police are investigating the accident to see if road conditions played a role.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  3. #3
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    Default Driver revived after icy plunge


    November 22, 2003

    Driver revived after icy plunge
    'It was a hell of a rescue effort, that's for sure,'

    Conal Mullen
    The Edmonton Journal

    Thursday, November 20, 2003

    EDMONTON - A man who spent 30 minutes submerged in icy water after his car flipped and slid into a drainage ditch was brought back to life by paramedics Wednesday evening following a dramatic rescue that involved firefighters and passersby.

    The driver, in his 50s, was in critical and unstable condition in hospital Wednesday night, said police Const. Gerry Zatylny.

    "It was a hell of a rescue effort, that's for sure," said Zatylny, who praised firefighters, paramedics and civilians.

    "You realize a person's chances aren't great when he's submerged in water."

    The car was headed east on a service road beside 63rd Avenue near 91st Street when it slipped between a guardrail and the edge of a drainage area shortly before 6:30 p.m.

    The car toppled off the embankment and slid upside down, breaking through the ice in a storm-water drainage ditch.

    Alvin Dixon was driving home from work at the time.

    "It was awful," he said. "I saw brake lights and then nothing."

    He said a woman phoned 911 while he and another passerby tried to reach the car.

    "We were told not to go down by another guy. He goes, 'Don't be stupid.' But what do you do -- you've got to help."

    Dixon tied cargo straps to the guardrail and started to lower himself down. He jumped to the car but slipped and cut his leg.

    "We got on the top of the car and we were calling but we couldn't hear anybody inside. I got down into the water and tried opening the door. Both doors were locked. Only the back-end of the car was sticking out. The rest of it was under water."

    Dixon tried to break the window but couldn't.

    Camille Tabib said he saw the two men on top of the car but it was impossible to reach the submerged driver.

    "We tried screaming at him," Tabib said, "but we couldn't hear anything.

    "This guy could not have been more cursed tonight. The way the car went in, it was doomed. The guy was submerged under water for half an hour. If this guy survives, it's amazing."

    Tabib said emergency crews arrived quickly. There were eventually 18 firefighters and 10 paramedics attending.

    Fire Capt. Randy Owen, commander of the rescue, said two firefighters went into the water immediately. It was up to their chests, and full of mud and oil.

    The driver's compartment was submerged and the man was still in the driver's seat, unconscious. Owen said the water was more than a metre deep and filled the interior of the car. He confirmed the driver was under water for about 30 minutes.

    A tow truck and a four-wheel-drive vehicle soon arrived on the scene. Dave Dempsey and Rod Sexauer, who own Dependable Automotive Services nearby, arrived with their friend Shane Sloan and passerby Reg Daley, who used his 4X4 to anchor the tow truck.

    Dempsey said they tried to tow the car from the water but broke two cables.

    "After about 15 minutes it was more or less panic," Dempsey said.

    Finally, towing in tandem with a fire truck, they pulled the twisted wreckage from the water.

    Dixon said two firefighters in wetsuits managed to reach the driver.

    "The two frogmen who pulled him out of the car -- they climbed in the car and broke the glass. And all I heard was, 'No pulse.' "

    Paramedics took over and worked on the man as they rushed him to hospital, said Owen.

    "Minutes ago they just got a pulse," he said at about 7:30 p.m. "It even surprised us."

    When Owen announced the news, a cheer of relief went up from some rescuers still at the scene.

    "He's got a pulse," Sloan said again. "It's unbelievable. That's the main thing, that he's alive. It seemed like it took forever."

    Dixon was in an ambulance getting treatment for his cut when the good news came over a radio.

    "That was really good to hear," he said. "It's amazing the work they did."

    Police and firefighters praised the tow truck drivers and others.

    "I was quite surprised to see that privately owned tow truck down there," Zatylny said. "Thank God he was here."

    Owen said the cold water may have helped. People have survived an hour underwater in such conditions, he said, because the cold slows the heart rate.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  4. #4
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    Default Fisherman falls to his death in freezing water


    Fisherman falls to his death in freezing water

    Friday, November 21, 2003

    By Steve Gunn

    A Muskegon man who apparently spent many mornings fishing near the USS Silversides submarine drowned early today after apparently falling into the Muskegon Channel between Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake.

    Paul Kamp, 75, of 2494 W. Sherman, was pulled from the channel by firefighters about 7 a.m. Rescuers are not sure how long he had been in the water, which was 43 degrees in the channel, according to Muskegon police.

    Kamp had apparently been fishing along the channel near the Silversides, like he has on many mornings, according to police and fire personnel on the scene. His fishing net was found near the edge of the channel, wedged against the pier.

    Another regular fisherman who knows Kamp arrived at the channel early in the morning and saw his Chevrolet Silverado truck parked near the water, but did not see him, authorities said.

    About an hour later the man noticed Kamp floating in the water, according to authorities.

    Muskegon firefighters David Slagh and Chad Horn, wearing ice rescue outfits, jumped in the water and pulled Kamp to shore. He was not breathing and did not have a pulse when he was removed from the water, but rescuers continued revival efforts all the way to the hospital. Sometimes cold-water victims have a better chance of being revived than warm-water victims, authorities said.

    Kamp was pronounced dead in the emergency room shortly after arriving, according to Hackley Hospital spokesman Stuart Jones.

    There were no signs of foul play at the scene, said Muskegon Police Chief Tony Kleibecker.

    "Obviously there's going to be a complete investigation, but everything points to an accidental death," Kleibecker said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  5. #5
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    Default Firefighters save deer from icy grave

    November 30, 2003

    Deer saved from icy grave

    By STAFF

    A young buck was saved from a frigid death in the Red River yesterday when water rescue firefighters were able to drag its limp body to shore. The deer was stuck in the ice when fire fighters arrived at the riverbank at the end of Commonwealth Avenue around 4:30 p.m.

    "Only its head was sticking through the ice when our guys arrived," said Capt. Gil DesAutels. "They had to chop away the ice before they could put a lasso around it's neck. There was no fight. It was pretty timid."

    The young buck was "pretty limp" when pulled from the water, added DesAutels, but was showing signs of life when the 14-rescue workers departed an hour later.

    "He was getting some life back. The guys said he was getting spunky," DesAutels said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  6. #6
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    Default Washburn hovercraft a total loss


    Washburn hovercraft a total loss

    Bismarck Tribune

    Washburn's rescue hovercraft is floating under ice somewhere along the Missouri River after flipping over Wednesday afternoon near Fort Yates.

    Washburn firefighters, who own the Air Commander AC6 Hovercraft, were in Fort Yates with an engineering firm using the craft to grid the river and find a deep enough area to lay a pipeline. Hovercrafts work best in those situations because they float on cushions of air above the surface, avoiding obstructions such as sandbars and ice, Washburn's assistant fire chief Clayton Berke said.

    The group ran into problems when the hovercraft entered an area of open water and water sprayed the front engine, shutting it down.

    "That's no big deal," said Dennis Hammling, Washburn fire chief. "It's happened before."

    When the front engine goes out, the craft is used as a boat, powered by a rear thrust engine. But when the crew hit the water, the front nose dipped into the water, filling the craft with water. The four members aboard -- two fire officials and two engineers -- were wearing cold immersion suits.

    At that point a nearby tugboat came over to help, as the hovercraft was becoming increasingly unstable.

    "That's when we figured we were in trouble," said Berke, who was onboard the craft. "It's been swamped full of water many times but it's always been stable."

    But when the four left the craft to get on the tugboat, the hovercraft flipped over. The tugboat followed it half a mile on the river, trying to attach a rope to it, but lost it when it slipped under ice.

    "It's still floating, but it's somewhere under the ice," Berke said.

    Berke said the fire department has no way of retrieving the hovercraft, and it will be a total loss.

    "When the ice goes out in the spring I would like to go looking for it," Berke said. "With all the ice that's flowing and the currents, it'll be pretty beat up. And being under the ice for that long, the two motors will be junk."

    A representative from Air Commander said this is the first time that model of the company's hovercrafts flipped over. Berke and Hammling said they are wondering what happened.

    "We've had four to six guys hanging off the side to see its capabilities," Hammling said. "It's never been unstable for us in any condition."

    The fire department raised money three years ago to buy the rescue hovercraft as a safety measure for an anticipated increase in river traffic with the upcoming Lewis and Clark bicentennial, Berke said. The total price tag was about $33,000 for the craft, plus another $3,700 for rescue features.

    "The fire department had purchased it by not using tax dollars in the hope to go out of our district to help surrounding districts if they needed a craft like that," Hammling said.

    Hammling said, as far as he knew, it was the only rescue hovercraft in the state. Since its purchase, the craft has aided in the search for a man that drowned near Underwood and helped people stranded on sandbars.

    "It was a very valuable tool for us," Hammling said.

    Air Commander hopes to answer the question of why the craft tipped over, after they complete an investigation. Officials from the Washburn Fire Department are waiting for those answers and information from the department's insurance company, to figure out where to go next.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default False alarm on Pelican Lake


    December 6, 2003

    False alarm

    Rescue workers walked off Pelican Lake Friday afternoon after investigating a potential drowning. After about an hour of searching, dive team members were relieved to get a radio call that two people had gotten off the lake safely after their ATV went through the ice.

    Earl Wolleat called 911 to report a possible drowning Friday on Pelican Lake. Wolleat and Crow Wing County Dive Team member Jim Guida were happy to hear a radio call confirming the two people whose ATV went through the ice had made it safely off the lake earlier.

    (Photos by Nels Norquist)
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default 20 Rescuers spend an hour attempting dog rescue


    Elusive Black Dog Avoids Capture; Later Takes Bait

    By Andrew Gorosko

    A rambunctious mixed-breed black Labrador retriever of unknown ownership, which unwittingly traipsed onto the perilously thin ice of Lake Lillinonah late Monday afternoon, drew the attention of passersby who swiftly summoned town emergency staffers to the scene to coax the wayward canine onto shore.

    But that seemingly simple task proved maddeningly complex for the about 20 firefighters, divers, ambulance personnel, and police who responded to the lake's cove off Alberts Hill Road in seeking to get the aggressive male dog onto dry land. Ice on Lake Lillinonah is notoriously unpredictable, in view of its changing water level as an impoundment of the Housatonic River behind the hydroelectric Shepaug Dam.

    On arriving about 4 pm, emergency staffers set up operations along a 100-yard stretch of the dirt Alberts Hill Road, which sits atop a terrace at the edge of a steep embankment overlooking the water.

    Sandy Hook and Newtown Hook and Ladder firefighters, plus members of Newtown Underwater Search and Rescue, summarily suited up in appropriate cold-water garb and went onto the ice in seeking to lure the agitated Labrador onto shore.

    But the animated dog repeatedly eluded capture, again and again darting away from its would-be rescuers as they were about to corral the canine. The dog wore a leather collar, which later was found to bear no dog tags, but hold a sensor for an electronic dog security device.

    During the attempted rescue, the ice opened up and two rescuers went through it. The flotation material in their suits kept the men afloat. Being lighter than the men and having four legs to spread its weight, the dog did not fall through the ice, but darted from slab to slab of floating ice.

    At one point, a NUSAR diver was on the verge of capturing the animal, but the animal bit him. The uninjured diver was protected by the thick fabric of his diving suit.

    After the rescuers spent nearly an hour trying to get the dog onshore, the Labrador eventually scampered onto land well away from the brightly flashing fire trucks and accompanying emergency lighting. And just as police were just about to snare the dog, the animal ran off and went back onto the thin ice in the darkness of the night.

    At that point, Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead told emergency personnel that it was time to leave. The dog had direct access to land via the ice and would get off the pond when it was ready to do so, he surmised. Also, the rescuers' lives were at stake working on thin ice in the dark, he said.

    The next morning, about 7:30, police received a call from an Alberts Hill Roads resident stating that an aggressive dog was sitting on his porch.

    On arriving, police discovered it was the same black dog that had been scampering on Lake Lillinonah the day before. Police also realized that the stray dog must be quite hungry.

    Sergeant John Cole and Officer William Hull attempted to snare the skittish animal, but being unsuccessful in that approach, they decided to set a trap for the dog.

    Police put some dry dog food, plus part of a grilled breakfast sandwich, into a large wire animal trap. Though initially hesitant, the famished dog eventually walked into the trap and took the bait, devouring the food. The trap door then closed shut and it was then time for a trip to the town dog pound.

    The dog pound will hold the animal until next Tuesday, after which, if the dog remains unclaimed, he would be advertised for adoption, said Sgt Cole.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  9. #9
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    Default Hunter grateful to be alive


    Hunter grateful to be alive

    Thursday, December 11, 2003

    Herald Staff Writer

    Sparta’s deputy mayor said Wednesday he will be forever grateful to the men and women who saved his life Tuesday night when he became stranded in a swamp after getting lost while hunting bear and deer in the woods of Hardyston.
    The rescue of Scott Seelagy became top priority Tuesday night as emergency officials rallied to locate Seelagy, who was stuck in 3 feet of frigid swamp water. Police, four fire departments and the crews of 13 ambulances from eight rescue squads labored for about three hours in an exhausting effort to save Seelagy that resulted in seven of the rescuers being treated for exposure.
    Seelagy, 42, was finally pulled from the bone-chilling water at 8 p.m., 100 yards from the property of the Black Bear Country Club in Franklin.
    “I’m back from the brink of disaster,” Seelagy said from his hospital bed Wednesday morning. “It was like ‘Rescue 911’ with William Shatner.”
    Seelagy said he’ll never forget the people who pulled together to see him to safety. “A tremendous amount of people risked their own safety and health for me and I am very grateful,” he said. More than 50 rescuers responded to Seelagy’s call for help.
    Seelagy’s wife, Kim, along with their children, Lauren, 5, and Michael, 4, sat by his bedside at Morristown Memorial Hospital all day Wednesday while he recovered from hypothermia and possible frostbite.
    “The doctors said he’ll be fine,” Kim Seelagy said. “They wanted to keep him for the rest of the day, though, to make sure everything was OK.” Seelagy is expected to be released from the hospital this morning.
    Seelagy said he was doing “fine,” but still had some numbness in the bottom of his feet and toes.
    “I had no feeling at all when I was brought here,” he said. Seelagy said he has about 75 percent of his feeling back, but he has cuts on his hands and feet and bruised legs.
    Seelagy, who had just started hunting this year, said he had hunted deer in state parks, such as High Point State Park, but did not know Hardyston’s Hamburg Mountain Wildlife Management Area well at all.
    He said he was wearing waterproof boots and heavy hunting gear, but was not prepared for his predicament.
    “I wasn’t wearing waders or anything to protect me from the cold water,” he said. Waders are high boots.
    Seelagy said he went to Hamburg Mountain Tuesday to hunt with his friend, Morgan McHose, but they split up around 4 p.m. McHose, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, is the husband of Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose.
    After some time, Seelagy decided to walk back to the logging road he and McHose had walked down earlier. He ascended the mountain to get back to the road, but never got there.
    Disoriented and confused, Seelagy hiked to the top of the mountain and looked out from a ridge and spotted Franklin and Route 23, so he headed back down the mountain toward the highway.
    By the time he reached the bottom of the mountain, Seelagy was exhausted, but he started to walk across a flat, snow-covered area. He didn’t realize the area was a marsh until the ice under his feet gave way and he fell into 3 feet of water. As he tried to get out, the ice kept breaking, but he eventually made it to a fallen log and sat down to rest.
    “By the time I made it to the log, I was so tired and disheveled, I just sat there with my gun, concerned for my own well-being,” he said. Seelagy said he saw bear tracks so he cleaned his barrel and reloaded the gun with seven shells just in case he was threatened by a bear.
    Not yet overly concerned, Seelagy called his wife, who notified Hardyston police that her husband needed assistance. The call came in to Hardyston dispatch at about 5:30 p.m., according to police reports.
    The first rescuers on the scene were Franklin Chief of Police Joseph Kistle and Hardyston Patrolman Ed O’Rourke.
    Driving through the woods in a Franklin police Expedition, the pair found Seelagy by calling his cell phone to have him describe his surroundings and asking him to fire off some rounds of bullets.
    “I’ve hunted that area since I was a kid, so once he gave us a description, I had an idea of where he was,” Kistle said.
    O’Rourke was the first in the water to rescue Seelagy.
    O’Rourke said he didn’t stop to think. He knew that time was of the essence, so he trudged into the water wearing his regular combat boots and police uniform.
    “The water was anywhere from waist deep to chest high in places,” he said.
    O’Rourke found Seelagy sitting by the log. He helped him to his feet and the two started out, but Seelagy kept falling through the ice and eventually pulled O’Rourke with him. Seelagy said he couldn’t continue and that is when O’Rourke knew he needed help.
    “When (Seelagy) said he couldn’t continue, at that point, I knew it was serious,” O’Rourke said.
    Seelagy said he felt paralyzed because his legs and feet were numb.
    O’Rourke propped Seelagy up against a tree and tried to warm Seelagy’s feet. Seelagy had already lost one of his boots so O’Rourke took off the other boot and his socks and put Seelagy’s feet under his armpits to warm them, a trick O’Rourke said he learned when he was a soldier in the cold weather division of the Marine Corps.
    Eventually, O’Rourke started losing feeling in his hands and feet and called for assistance. Kistle and three other rescuers trudged out into the swamp to bring him in.
    “Two or three more guys came in to try to help to carry me, but it wasn’t easy,” said Seelagy, who stands 5 feet, 9 inches. “They gave it everything they had, but eventually had to call for more help. I’m 215 pounds , so I’m a lot of weight to carry.”
    More people came in to help and the situation got pretty frantic, according to Seelagy. “No one had the proper equipment with them to insulate their lower bodies, so they were suffering like I was,” he said.
    Finally, two hours into the ordeal, a wire mesh sled was brought in and four or five men carried Seelagy out of the slush.
    “All the guys were doing a great job. No one expected it to be so bad.” Seelagy said. “It was the kind of experience you see on 911 rescues.”
    O’Rourke said Wednesday he was doing well, but he believes he bruised his legs when he was trying to break through the ice. He didn’t realize the force of the impact because his legs were numb at the time.
    “It feels like someone hit me with a bat 20 times,” he said.
    According to O’Rourke, Hardyston’s fire department has cold-water rescue equipment and has practiced cold-water rescues, but he and the other rescuers didn’t expect the situation to escalate.
    “I didn’t think it would turn out to be as bad as it was,” he said.
    Despite his extensive efforts, O’Rourke doesn’t feel like a hero. “I was just doing my job,” he said.
    Kistle was also very humble about his part in the rescue. “You gotta do what you gotta do,” he said. Kistle said he has some nicks and bruises from the ice and branches.
    “The worst part was the true intensity of the cold for such a duration of time,” he said. “At one point, I couldn’t feel anything from my knees down. It was like walking with lead blocks.”
    According to Kistle, the rest of Seelagy’s rescuers are in good condition. The seven who were brought to area hospitals for exposure were treated and released Tuesday night.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  10. #10
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    Default Boys safe after going through ice


    Dec. 11, 2003

    Two boys safe after going through ice at Manawa

    The Post-Crescent

    MANAWA — Two Manawa boys learned Wednesday that it hasn’t been cold enough yet to form safe ice on ponds.

    The Manawa Fire Department and ambulance were called to the city millpond after 3 p.m. when someone saw tracks in the snow leading to open water on what locals call the Polywog, Police Chief Chad Wegner said.

    While rescue workers searched to see if someone had fallen in, a woman told them she had two boys at her home, drying off.

    Wegner said the boys, both middle school-aged, had been sledding and fell through the ice on the pond. The boys said they went into water over their heads.

    Wegner said people have fished on the main pond last weekend, but he doesn’t advise it.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Dept's New Rescue Boat Put Into Action


    December 11, 2003

    Dept's New Rescue Boat Put Into Action
    By Jodi Summit

    Greenwood, Minn. -- The board heard an update on the fire department’s new airboat, which was put into action for the first time. The airboat was donated to the fire department, but the craft required extensive repairs, costing about $5,000.

    Fire Chief Randy Kladivo said the airboat isn’t the easiest craft to maneuver, but many department members have been trained on the boat.

    The boat was called into action earlier this month to rescue, ironically, a stranded airboat driver, whose craft was stuck in the thin ice.

    Kladivo said maneuvering the airboat over thin ice is tricky.

    “Going from ice to open water isn’t a problem,” he said, “but it doesn’t like slush.” The airboat was designed for places like the Everglades, Kladivo said, and while it isn’t perfect for thin ice conditions on a northern lake, it is a nice addition to the department’s rescue equipment.

    “Its gives me a much more secure feeling to know we can go out and not be risking our own lives,” Kladivo said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Hunter rescued from ice

    The Hawk Eye Press

    December 15, 2003

    Hunter rescued from ice

    JACKSON TOWNSHIP, IOWA — A hunter fell through ice on the Des Moines River Saturday evening and was taken to a nearby hospital.

    According to Jackson Township Fire Chief Paul Henson, the man was hunting with a relative when he fell through the ice near 2290 Johnson Street Road. The man with whom he was hunting called for help when his acquaintance did not return at a specified time, Henson said.

    Henson declined to release the man's name, but estimated both of their ages as near 60 and said they were hunting near their homes.

    Henson said the man's rescue was difficult because of wooded terrain. Firefighters at the scene were forced to go into the water to rescue the man around 5:30 p.m.

    "This was not the typical ice rescue," Henson said.

    The man apparently had been walking through the woods when he fell through. Henson said the man "didn't even know he was on ice."

    About 17 firefighters used a sled and a four–wheeler to retrieve the man and bring him to waiting ambulances. Henson said the man was released from Keokuk Area Hospital Sunday night.

    Five firefighters who entered the water also were taken to KAH for "precautionary measures," but were later released.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  13. #13
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    Default Man submerged for 15 minutes in the icy waters


    Dec. 16, 2003

    Man falls through Andover pond while rescuing dogs

    He was submerged for 15 minutes in the icy waters before he was rescued.

    The Wichita Eagle

    Butler County, KS -- A man who apparently fell through ice on an Andover pond and was submerged for about 15 minutes was in critical condition Monday night, following a dramatic rescue, authorities said.
    The man, in his late 50s, was taken to Wesley Medical Center, said Butler County sheriff's Detective Kelly Herzet. Herzet said he could not yet release the man's name.

    Herzet speculated that the man fell through the ice while trying to help two dogs that might have already broken through.

    According to a timeline Herzet compiled, a few minutes after 3 p.m. Monday, the man buzzed the gate of a residence on Harry Street near Andover Road. The man's wife works at the residence as a housekeeper; he was on his way to pick her up.

    When he didn't show up after 10 or 15 minutes, his wife went looking for him on the lane to the house and found his green Explorer on the road by the pond.

    She noticed the homeowner's two dogs out in the icy water and didn't see him. But she suspected he must have fallen through and, distraught, rushed to the house to call 911.

    The wife and a woman who lives at the residence hurried to the pond, where the resident waded in to waist-high level. The resident then saw the man submerged.

    "She just barely saw the top of his head sticking out of the water," Herzet said.

    The water in the pond was more than 3 feet deep, said Michael Ring, a firefighter with the Andover Fire Department.

    When firefighters arrived, they tried unsuccessfully to reach the man with a pole and extension ladder laid down on the ice, Ring said.

    Then, he said, firefighters wearing thermal suits and connected to safety lines waded in and brought the man out.

    The man was wearing a T-shirt and jeans; his coat was in his vehicle, Herzet said.

    Rescuers quickly moved the man into a heated ambulance, where medics waited with their life-saving equipment, Ring said.

    At first, the man was not breathing but showed a sign of life on the way to the hospital, Herzet said. The man was breathing with a ventilator later Monday night.

    Frigid water can cause the body to go into a slowed-down mode that can help a person survive, Herzet said.

    Both of the dogs -- Labrador retrievers, who are suited to cold water -- survived the ordeal fine, he said.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Pooch pulled from floating river ice


    Pooch pulled from floating ice on river

    Sun Staff
    December 16, 2003

    LOWELL, MA -- The dog was wet, cold and looking anything but fortunate yesterday as he bobbed on an ice floe headed toward the Pawtucket Falls in the Merrimack River.

    That's when Chris Brown, director at the UMass Lowell Center for the Arts, looked out her window on the first floor of Durgin Hall and spotted the mixed-breed dog floating past. She called the Fire Department about 11:50 a.m. The ice floe was about 25 feet from shore but drifting toward the middle of the river, where the current increases.

    The Fire Department's Engine 3 and Ladder 3 rushed into action, launching a Zodiac boat with firefighter Larry Finn steering and Lt. Anthony Cassella at the bow, chopping through the ice.

    "I was just afraid they weren't going to make it in time before he hit the falls," Brown said.

    The firefighters reached the dog in a swift current about 100 feet from shore near Wilder Street, a couple hundred feet before the falls.

    "He wasn't moving (on the ice), just lying there," Finn said. "Pretty smart dog, actually, he just laid there."

    That's when the rescue got slippery, said Deputy Chief John Dowling.

    Cassella and Finn had to pull the sedate pooch, estimated to weigh about 100 pounds, from the tipping sheet of ice into the boat.

    "The dog was probably numb by now and (didn't) want to fight and probably wanted to get off, (but) the tough part is it's awkward to get him off," Dowling said.

    Firefighters named him Lucky as they pulled him by the blue collar he was wearing toward a truck to get warm. With a gentle nudge, he made himself comfortable inside and waited for Animal Control Officer Ed Patenaude to arrive and take charge.

    Lucky was taken to the nearby Lowell Veterinary Clinic at the corner of Broadway and Pawtucket streets.

    The dog was not wearing identification tags when he was rescued, and it was not immediately clear how he got on the ice floe. Officials are hoping the owner steps forward to claim the dog.

    Firefighters treated the rescue with the same care as they would a person in trouble.

    "It was just something we had to do," Cassella said. "It was just like rescuing a human."

    Jack Minch's e-mail address is jminch@lowellsun.com .
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Coast Guard rescues the rescuers


    December 15, 2003

    Coast Guard rescues hunter, firefighters, policeman, dog

    The Associated Press

    BRIDGEWATER, Mass. (AP) - Mike Hill was out on a hunting trip with a friend Monday when he got stuck in the muck tracking a deer. His would-be rescuers had similar luck. One after another ... after another ... after another ...

    Hill, who waded into waist-deep water in a marshy area, grew cold and realized he was lost. He pulled out his cell phone and help was soon on the way. More than two dozen rescue workers from Bridgewater and surrounding towns arrived to search.

    But the rescuers couldn't reach Hill. Three firefighters set out in a rescue boat, but the boat got stuck. The firefighters themselves got mired in the marsh as they tried slogging on foot toward Hill, said Bridgewater Fire Chief Roderick Walsh.

    Another firefighter and the police officer with a rescue dog named Gorby set out on an all terrain vehicle from another direction. They, too, got stuck in the swamp, along with the dog. Even a hovercraft brought in by a neighboring town got bogged down, Walsh said.

    "We had a lot of trouble locating him because he couldn't orient with anything. It was difficult for us to get in there," Walsh said.

    Ultimately, it was a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that managed to pluck Hill, three firefighters, the police officer and Gorby from the marsh - hauling them up, dripping, through the trees to safety in a wire basket.

    "It was a pretty big mess," said Coast Guard Lt. Chris Zorman.

    Walsh said that everyone - including Gorby - was fine.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Rescue effort costs exceed $22K


    Hunt for big buck leads to big bucks copter ride

    By David Connolly

    BRIDGEWATER, MA — It was a very big deer.
    "I mean a real big deer," said hunter Michael L. Hill of Brockton. "The base of its antlers were as thick as your wrists."

    It was that deer that caused Hill to get lost deep in the Lake Nippenicket woods Monday, triggering a massive search effort that cost cash-strapped fire departments more than $7,000 and ended with a $15,834 helicopter ride.

    Dozens of firefighters and state and local police searched the woods and swamp for more than two hours Monday, looking for Hill, who kept in contact with searchers with his cellular telephone.

    "You wouldn't believe what an operation they have going here," Hill's brother said to the hunter in a cell phone conversation during the nearly three-hour search.

    "The only thing I can say is everyone did a great job. Those guys are a special breed of people," said Hill.

    In addition to the Bridgewater fire and police chiefs, there was a state police major on hand, along with two more fire chiefs, deputies, captains and lieutenants from neighboring communities.

    "I'd love to send him the bill," joked Bridgewater Fire Chief Roderick Walsh, whose department racked up about $3,600 in manpower overtime costs Monday.

    But even though Walsh was a week removed from seeing his budget trimmed at town meeting, costs cannot detract from such a search, he said.

    "We never look at it that way," he said. "We look at the mission at hand, what we need to accomplish and what we need to accomplish it."

    In addition to manpower costs, Walsh said his department is facing equipment repairs that could top $2,000.

    Fire officials from Middleboro, Halifax and East Bridgewater say the ordeal cost them a combined $3,000 or more in equipment and manpower, and Easton, West Bridgewater and Norton each reported costs of several hundred dollars.

    Robert Fairburn, deputy fire chief in East Bridgewater, said the subject of the search and the searchers are all at risk during such massive efforts.

    "You have to spend what you have to spend to bring the situation to a conclusion," said Fairburn.

    Hill gasped when told the estimated cost of the search effort.

    "Oh man," he said.

    Hill, 49, of Brockton went hunting alone Monday around dawn. He was 15 minutes into the woods from a spot off Lakeview Drive about a mile north of Route 104 when he spotted the large deer.

    After wading though icy marsh waters that at times were neck-deep, Hill thought his best exit strategy was to push toward Route 24.

    "But then I couldn't figure out where I was," he said.

    He called his wife, who then called his son, who then called police, sparking a massive search that began just after noon.

    "The last thing I wanted to do was call my wife and worry her," he said.

    It was about a half-hour after that call that his son called, telling him there was a team of rescue workers ready to find him.

    Three separate search teams went into the woods after Hill from three different directions, said Walsh.

    Three Bridgewater firefighters got on the department's airboat, two others got on an all-terrain vehicle, and police Sgt. Chris Delmonte with German shepherd Gorby led other firefighters and a state Environmental Police officer.

    The thickness of the underbrush and depth of the icy marsh waters hampered the search, said Walsh.

    "They were walking in the water the whole time, it was real tough," said Walsh.

    The whole time, Hill, who pulled himself out of the water onto a mound of tree roots, was talking on his cell phone to his son, who was at the command center.

    Hill was trying to describe his whereabouts by relaying his view of the sun and direction of the wind, all the while listening for boat engines, the barking dog and screaming searchers.

    Meanwhile, Walsh was trying to communicate to the pilot of the Channel 5 news helicopter who was aiding in the search, but direct communications were impossible.

    Instead, Walsh was radioing a dispatcher at the station who was on the phone with Channel 5's news desk, and someone there was radioing the chopper pilot. That was until a Channel 5 reporter at the scene gave his portable radio to the chief.

    "Channel 5 was outstanding," said Walsh.

    Finally, the news helicopter spotted Hill as searchers were closing in on him.

    "I was yelling and then one guy told me to stop because he was right behind me," said Hill.

    The police and firefighter searchers, along with a whimpering and whining Gorby, were too far in the brush to return on foot, and no rescue vehicle could make it to them.

    "Some of them looked worse off than me," he said.

    A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter was called in and pulled the rescuers, Gorby and Hill out of the woods on a cable-hoisted stretcher.

    That helicopter costs $10,556 an hour to fly, and Hill's rescue took 90 minutes. The Coast Guard bears that cost, an official there said.

    Everyone was treated for hypothermia, including Gorby, and ultimately given a clean bill of health.

    But firefighters remained on scene to rescue stranded apparatus.

    Bridgewater's airboat got stuck in the swamp thickets, so Halifax put its hover craft in the water. That air-powered boat, which skips across the top of the water, also got stuck, forcing Middleboro firefighters to send a third boat in to tow the other two out.

    The operation wrapped up after 6 p.m., and all hypothermia ills were considered minor.

    "And no, I didn't get the deer," said Hill.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Milwaukee man pulled from river


    Dec. 18, 2003

    Body thought to be Milwaukee man pulled from river

    By Michelle Kubitz
    Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

    MANITOWOC — Police pulled a body, believed to be that of a missing Milwaukee man, from the Manitowoc River on Wednesday.

    Police believe the body is that of Jerry W. McCauley, 45, who was last seen on Nov. 30 aboard a tug boat he was working on, operated by a Milwaukee-area firm.

    According to the Manitowoc County coroner’s office, McCauley’s death is being regarded as suspicious. An autopsy will be performed Thursday by the Milwaukee County Examiner’s Office.

    The body was pulled out of the Manitowoc River at about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday. McCauley’s brothers, Michael and Dennis McCauley, reported him missing to the Manitowoc Police Department on Dec. 12.

    At about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, a diver from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department pulled the body out of the Manitowoc River. The man was found just east of the Eighth Street Bridge, about 15 feet from the north shore of the river, at a depth of 15 feet.

    Weather conditions were not conducive to a safe dive until Wednesday, said Manitowoc Police Chief Perry Kingsbury.

    Even with improved weather conditions, divers from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team faced a number of challenges during the search, said Mike Bushman, deputy inspector of operations for the sheriff’s department. They included cold water, zero visibility in the river and large chunks of ice flowing out toward Lake Michigan, he said.

    Three divers went into the river for Wednesday’s search, with each diver down for about 25 minutes.

    Bushman was quick to point out the cooperative effort between the departments participating in the search for McCauley.

    Investigative work from the police department was able to pinpoint the last place McCauley was seen in Manitowoc, “and gave a very good location to search,” Bushman said.

    The Manitowoc Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard provided additional equipment.

    “For every diver down, there are at least six people in support up above,” Bushman said. “This is an adventure that we shared in equally. We all work well together and that’s how we got it accomplished.”

    The dive team is called out about once a year on recovery missions and consists of certified dive team members who are all master scuba divers or dive masters.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Flood victims evacuated by airboat


    Floods cause problems in western Maine

    December18, 2003

    CANTON (AP) -- About 30 homes have been evacuated in the town of Canton as flood waters continue to cause problems Thursday afternoon in western Maine.
    Oxford County Emergency Management Director Dan Schorr says some waters are receding but the Androscoggin River isn't expected to crest until Thursday evening. He says it'll be about a foot above flood stage.
    He says no one has been hurt so far but the high waters have created lots of problems.
    In one instance, a family had to be evacuated by an airboat because a home was surrounded by water. He says the water is lapping at the curb of a retirement home, and there's talk of evacuating those residents as well.
    In Bethel, many roads coming and going are closed because of high waters. The Sunday River ski resort closed for the day.
    A flood watch is in effect for much of the state Thursday morning as rivers and streams are running high from melting snow, heavy rains and ice jams.
    The National Weather Service issued the watch for Androscoggin, Knox, Lincoln, Kennebec, Waldo, York and Cumberland counties through noon today.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  19. #19
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    Default Dozens rescue from flood waters

    Friday, December 19, 2003

    Androscoggin River floods town

    By DENNIS HOEY, Portland Press Herald Writer

    CANTON, ME — Residents of a nursing home and about 50 other homes were evacuated Thursday after heavy rains and melting snow caused the Androscoggin River to overflow its banks.

    The flood wreaked havoc in this rural Oxford County town of 1,100 people, forcing authorities to close portions of routes 108 and 140.

    Several families trapped by rising water had to be rescued. Dairy farmers moved their cows to higher ground. The waters flooded a potato farm and warehouses and submerged cars and trucks. State wardens used an airboat to rescue families trapped by rising water.

    Sgt. Norm Lewis of the Maine Warden Service kept busy maneuvering his airboat between flooded homes and churches. He rescued about a half-dozen families, along with a pack of hunting dogs owned by Derek and Jen Thone.

    Families took up shelter in a local VFW hall, where children whooped and watched "Shrek," "A Bug's Life" and "Monsters Inc." videos.

    No flood-related injuries were reported.

    "This flood was out of sync because we usually are geared up for flooding in the spring, not in the middle of winter," said Lynette Miller, a spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Association. "This certainly is up there with the flood of 1987, though it is nowhere near as severe. We won't really know the extent of the damage until the water goes down."

    Although Canton was the hardest-hit town along the Androscoggin, the western Maine town of Bethel also was affected. Most roads leading in and out of town had to be shut down.

    "Canton was in the worst shape, but Bethel was isolated," said Dan Schorr, director of the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency in South Paris. "For Bethel, it was more a question of waiting out the flood."

    The Androscoggin River was due to crest in Rumford overnight.

    The Sunday River ski resort in Newry did not open after officials learned of the flooded roads. Route 26, a major state highway connecting Portland-area skiers with Sunday River, was shut down.

    "We're sitting here fine, but it's no good if people can't get here," said Susan DuPlessis, a spokeswoman for the ski resort.

    At Bethel Outdoor Adventure & Campground on Route 2, anything that wasn't tied down floated away, but the main building was not affected because it sits on cinderblocks.

    "It was pretty bad," said Jeff Parsons, a co-owner. "This is about as high as we've seen it."

    Across the street, a miniature golf course, pool and pump house for a water slide were under 2 1/2 feet of water at Big Adventure Center. The center was closed because its parking lot was flooded.

    Gov. John Baldacci met in Augusta with officials from the Maine Emergency Management Agency and was expected to tour Canton today to assess the damage. MEMA officials flew over Canton on Thursday in a Maine Forest Service helicopter. They also took photographs.

    State and county officials will take a few days to assess the damage before seeking federal disaster relief. Baldacci would have to make the decision to apply.

    "This is a very serious situation," U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe said in a prepared statement. "Once the communities have a better opportunity to assess the damage, we will have a better idea of the ways we can contribute and help the citizens of these affected towns to clean up and recover."

    Tom Hawley, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said flood watches were issued Thursday for the Androscoggin, Saco, Carrabassett and Kennebec rivers.

    The flooding was caused by a combination of ice jams, a heavy December snowfall and unusually heavy rains that soaked the region between Andover and Canton with about 3 inches in a 12-hour period - on top of more than 4 feet of snow.

    "We had melting snow. That is what precipitated the floods," Hawley said.

    Hawley said the forecast for the next several days calls for sunshine with a few snow showers.

    But Miller, the MEMA official, said Augusta, Hallowell and Gardiner may not be out of danger. The Kennebec River was expected to rise 4 feet above flood level this morning.

    "If that happens, it is going to put water into a lot of people's basements," she said.

    In Canton, residents were not expected to be able to return to their flooded homes until tonight or Saturday, said Jim Dyment, the town's emergency management director.

    Dyment and his wife, Cynthia, along with their daughter and her two young children, had to flee their home on Route 108. The couple planned to sleep at the town's public works garage.

    As he stood on a lawn near the Canton Fire Department - an island in a sea of floating debris and water - Dyment estimated that 50 homes had to be evacuated.

    Firefighters had to move all of the town's firefighting apparatus to the town garage before the fire station was encircled by floodwaters.

    Classes at Canton Elementary School, which is next to the fire station, were called off.

    The largest single evacuation took place at the Victorian Villa Rehabilitation Center & Living Center, a nursing home and residential care center for seniors on Pleasant Street in Canton.

    The evacuation of all 120 residents was ordered when the water reached the curb and was still rising.

    Buses took people living in the residential care center portion to the local VFW; nursing home patients were taken to an elementary school in Hartford, officials said.

    Lewis rounded up the dogs from their kennel on Bixby Road. After the six dogs had been loaded into the bed of the Thones' pickup truck, the young couple relaxed.

    Although the Thones just finished renovating their home, which had more than 2 feet of water in the living room, they seemed more concerned about the welfare of their dogs.

    "We just renovated our house. We spent a lot of money on that and it's ruined," Jen Thone said. "The house can be replaced. The dogs can't."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Boy rescued from icy Pond


    Boy, 11, rescued from icy Johnson's Pond

    Friday, December 19, 2003

    Journal staff writer

    COVENTRY -- Firefighters rescued an 11-year-old boy from the icy waters of Johnson's Pond this afternoon.

    The boy, whose name has not been released, fell through the ice about 200 feet from shore after following his dog onto the pond.

    The boy was able to hang onto the ice and keep his head above water for about 10 minutes until firefighters from Central Coventry Fire District and Hopkins Hill Fire District could pull him out.

    "He wasn't panicking, which was the good thing. He was cherry red from the neck up," said Central Coventry Firefighter James Harrington.

    Firefighters used an ice sled and wore exposure suits in the rescue.

    The boy was taken to Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, where he was being treated for exposure.

    The dog was able to climb out of the water and was on shore when firefighters arrived.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Man drowns as skimmer breaks through ice


    Dec. 21, 2003

    Man drowns as skimmer breaks through ice

    By Andy Nelesen

    Green Bay, WI
    SEVASTOPOL — A 39-year-old Fish Creek man drowned Saturday after his ice boat broke through the frozen surface of Clark Lake in Sevastopol.

    Door County Medical Examiner Al Klimek said John Redman went out on the lake about 11 a.m. and was spotted in the water by an ice fisherman about 2 p.m., Klimek said.

    Redman’s skimmer broke through the ice and he was in the water waving his arms to attract attention.

    The fisherman ran to shore to summon help, but by the time he reached land and looked back, Redman was beneath the water’s surface.

    Authorities recovered Redman’s body about 4:20 p.m. Klimek said rescue crews did not attempt resuscitation because of how long Redman was in the water.

    “He was down more than two hours,” Klimek said. “If we can get to them in that first hour, they have a chance. But two hours is just too long.”

    Klimek said he does not plan to do an autopsy on Redman, but does expect to conduct an external examination and routine toxicology screens.

    Klimek said that ice covered most of the lake, but noted there are still large patches of open water and thin ice.
    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

  22. #22
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    Default 9 snowmobilers crash through ice

    9 snowmobilers crash through ice

    Monday, December 22, 2003

    WEARE, NH - Several snowmobilers went through the ice at Clough State Park in Weare Saturday, and one of the nine barely made it out alive.

    Nick Amerena of Londonderry said he, a cousin and a friend crashed through the ice on a flooded part of the snowmobiling trail about 10:30 Saturday morning.

    Amerena and his cousin escaped the freezing water, but their friend was in the water for more than an hour before rescuers got him out. Another snowmobiler who tried to help also went through the ice and was treated by an ambulance crew at the scene.

    The man, whose name was not released, was flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon and treated for severe hypothermia.

    Several hours later, five snow machines went through the ice in the same area as the earlier incident.

    All five managed to get out of the water on their own before rescuers arrived, and were treated at the scene, an official said.

    Fish and Game Conservation officer Todd Szewczyk said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the park, was going to block off the snowmobile trail where the accidents happened until flood waters recede. He said that area is not normally under water, but the heavy rains earlier last week had flooded the trails.

    The five were treated for mild hypothermia by rescue crews at the scene.

    Szewczyk said ice conditions are treacherous due to the mild weather and high water. "Conditions are bad for riding snow machines or walking on ice at this point," he said.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Fisherman drowns after fall through ice

    Fisherman drowns after fall through ice

    Monday, December 22, 2003

    By John Agar
    The Grand Rapids Press

    FENNVILLE, MI -- As ice started forming on area lakes, Fennville outdoorsman Larry Neal Bright could hardly wait to go fishing.

    "He was so excited," his wife, Darlene, said today.

    "He said by Christmas, he would be out on the ice. But he should have waited."

    Her husband died Sunday afternoon when he fell through thin ice on Emerson Lake in Allegan County's Trowbridge Township.

    A resident called 911 after spotting ice-fishing equipment on the lake but no one around. Sheriff's deputies then located an unoccupied pickup near the lake. The sheriff's dive/rescue team responded with Allegan firefighters and found the victim in 8 feet of water, about 60 yards from shore.

    Bright, 54, who had left his home to go fishing around 2 p.m., was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:20 p.m.

    Bright worked at Hart &Cooley Inc. in Holland.

    He and his wife had been married 33 years. They had three sons, Richard, Jayson and Craig, and three granddaughters whom he adored, his wife said. She is

    see ICE, A4


    glad they recently gathered for an early Christmas at a sister's home in Fennville.

    Bright's passion was the outdoors. His family, which includes five sisters, moved to Fennville when he was a boy. He loved the area, and he hunted and fished every chance he got. It was a life he shared with his boys.

    "He loved it -- he loved fishing and hunting. It was his life," she said.

    He liked to take his granddaughters fishing.

    "They liked to go out on the boat, spend time with him. He was always so glad to have them come see him, to spend time with Grandpa. He will be missed, for sure."

    Darlene Bright took comfort in knowing her husband died doing something he loved. But she always worried, especially early in the year when the ice can be unstable. That morning, her husband fished at Scott Lake and said the ice was fine.

    But the ice probably started deteriorating with temperatures above freezing, she said.

    Bright said once her husband decided to go out on the ice, not much would stop him. "He was just so excited about being out there."

    Todd Skinner, owner of Outdoor Fanatics, just outside Allegan, said the first and last ice are always dangerous. He has seen many ice angler out already and said safety should be the first concern.

    He advises those heading onto area lakes to carry equipment to check the ice in front of them, and always have a partner.

    Skinner said he does not fish if others are not already out on the ice.

    The ice on area lakes has ranged from 2 to 3 1/2 inches, but it should be considered unsafe until at least later this week, when colder temperatures are expected, Skinner said.

    "They have been fishing Gun Lake in the channels about a week, but a few people have popped through the ice, too."

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Neighbor lends helping hand to rescuers

    Neighbor lends helping hand, sled to rescuers

    Monday, December 22, 2003

    FITCHBURG, MA -- An Ashburnham Hill resident used his tractor and sled to help rescue an injured snowmobile driver Saturday.

    At 2:38 p.m. the Fire Department received a call reporting Karen Lielasus had hit a tree with her snowmobile and was stranded 100 to 125 feet into the woods, said Deputy Fire Chief James Belliveau.

    Snowmobilers pinpointed the woman's location, and rescue workers walked to her and secured her on a backboard, but transporting the woman was still a problem until a neighbor arrived.

    Norman Hertel said he was out for a walk with his wife, Evelyne, at about 3 p.m. when he saw rescue workers in the woods near his home.

    Hertel hitched a toboggan to his tractor and brought the woman out of the woods and across an icy field to the ambulance.

    The woman, whose residence is unknown, was transported to HealthAlliance Hospital/Leominster with unknown injuries.

    "She was conscious and alert," Belliveau said.

    Hertel was humble about his good deed and gave credit to the rescue workers.

    "I just went out and helped out a little," Hertel said. "That's what neighbors are for."

    Belliveau said Hertel's contribution saved precious time and energy and provided a safer option for the victim and the rescue workers.

    "That was a great help back there," Belliveau said. "The field was all covered with ice."

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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    Default Woman rescued from icy waters

    Troy woman rescued from icy waters

    December 21, 2003


    TROY, MI - Rescue workers saved a 50-year-old Troy woman Friday afternoon after she plunged through thin ice on Lake Sylvan where her dog fell into the water about 30 feet from shore.

    "She was able to hold on to the edge of the ice calling for help," said Troy Police Sgt. William Avery of the victim, Deborah Jeffers. "Police and fire arrived and officers were able to throw her a rope and pull her in. She was conscious all the time and it appears she was in the water 15 to 20 minutes."

    Jeffers managed to save her golden retriever which ran to the shore as she called for help, Avery added.

    Paramedics cared for Jeffers who was taken to William Beaumont Hospital, Troy, where she was treated and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. The victim's two dogs were kept briefly at the city's animal shelter while she was being treated, Avery said.

    Jeffers was walking her two dogs on the west side of the lake located near Rochester Road between Long Lake and Square Lake Roads when one of the animals ventured out on the ice, Avery said.

    "The dog fell through and she tried to rescue it," Avery said. "She got the dog out but fell through herself. The ice was about 1/2-inch thick."

    Other persons were at the lake, which has public access and some tables, and called police, Avery said.

    Avery cautioned people to stay off lake ice at this time of the year because temperatures haven't been cold enough to freeze surfaces to sufficient thicknesses.

    "He who saves a single life, is said to have saved the entire world." TM

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