Coast Guard rescues snowmobiler who fell through ice

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CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard rescued a snowmobiler who fell through the ice, Saturday night, on the Saginaw River in the vicinity of the Channel Islands in the Saginaw Bay.

At 9:15 p.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Saginaw River, in Essexville, Mich., was patched into a phone call between the Bay City emergency dispatch and a man reporting that his friend fell through the ice on his snowmobile.

The watchstander issued an urgent marine information broadcast and also directed the launch of an ice rescue team aboard a 20-foot airboat. The ice rescue team arrived on scene at 9:32 p.m., and immediately launched rescue efforts. The man was pulled from the water and loaded onto the airboat and treated for hypothermia. The man was conscious but was slurring his speech.

“It was an excellent response by our team in a dire situation,” said Chief Petty Officer Zachary Hamilton, coxswain of the airboat and leader of the ice rescue team.

“The man was in a dangerous situation because he wasn’t wearing the proper clothing to be immersed in the water. We encourage anyone participating in ice recreation, especially those who are on the ice, to be properly clothed including at least a life jacket for an emergency entrance into the water.”

The man was transferred to emergency medical services personnel who were waiting at Station Saginaw River.

The Coast Guard Sector Detroit Incident Management Division was notified of the incident, and they will monitor any pollution concerns stemming from the snowmobile being in the water.

Additional ice safety information can be found in the Coast Guard’s “Think Twice with Ice” safety brochure.

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