Coast Guard rescues man and his dog from icy Canadian river

USCG file photo

CLEVELAND – A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit rescued a Canadian man and his dog after he became surrounded by ice and stranded while canoeing in a river near Kettle Point, Ontario, Tuesday night.

 

Personnel from Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard around 7:45 p.m., after Ken Glendining, 57, of Port Franks, Ontario, used his cell phone to call for help, stating that he couldn’t make it through the ice to shore.

The Canadian coast guard ship Samuel Risley was en route but had a roughly two-and-a-half hour transit to Glendining.

When the MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit arrived, it attempted to hoist Glendining and his dog, Grace, using the aircraft’s rescue basket, but chunks of ice from the river were getting caught in the basket, submerging it in the water. Instead the flight mechanic, Petty Officer 3rd Class Luke Lohn, lowered the rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 1st Class Craig Miller, to hoist Glendining with the aircraft’s rescue sling. Glendining held Grace as the three of them were hoisted into the helicopter.

The aircrew transported Glendining, who was reportedly showing onsets of hypothermia, to emergency medical technicians waiting in Sarnia, Ontario, at about 9:45 p.m. He reportedly declined medical treatment.

The rescue was Lohn’s first as a Coast Guard rescue flight mechanic.

This was the second time in three weeks the Coast Guard rescued a dog in the Great Lakes region.

The Coast Guard is reminding mariners that cell phones are not consistently reliable in the marine environment and especially in a boating emergency.

Calls to 911 may not connect or may “drop.” The nearest cell phone tower may be out of range or, as is common in several areas within the Great Lakes region, located in Canada. Then there are the risks of battery failure or network outage. Cell phones are helpful, but when boating, they should be considered a last line of defense for emergency communications.

Boaters should instead use a marine band radio. These are not one-on-one calls, as with a cell phone, but transmissions broadcast to anyone monitoring that frequency. VHF Channel 16 is the international hailing and distress frequency, which many mariners and response organizations monitor, increasing a person’s chance of a swift rescue.

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