Nebraska Firefighters Battle Cold During Rescue

OMAHA, Neb. --

The bitterly cold weekend made a tough job even tougher for emergency crews across our region. But one rescue operation in west Omaha would have been tough even if it were sunny and 75 degrees outside.

The city's high-angle rescue team was called in when Matt Costanzo drove his pickup truck into a creek early Sunday morning near 155th Street and West Center Road.

Costanzo's truck ended up on its side in the ravine. Capt. Laura Larson said the rescue posed a number of problems.

"You have to figure out the lowering system, hook up ropes, get your guys down there to the vehicle and find out what condition he was in. Those are just the normal things you have to figure out," said Larson.

The weather conditions didn't help matters. A blizzard warning was still in effect, the wind chill index was -20 with winds gusting to 30 mph.

"It's very difficult," Larson said. "At that point it was even difficult to communicate. Any part of your body not covered up was starting to freeze."

It took firefighters about 40 minutes to rescue Costanzo. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Police ticketed Costanzo for reckless driving and driving under the influence.

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