Coast Guard, Washington Township Ice Rescue Teams rescue woman from icy Maumee River

Great Lakes Coast Guard NewsCLEVELAND – The Coast Guard and the Washington Township Ice Rescue Teams rescued a woman from the icy waters of the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio early Sunday afternoon.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., a watchstander at Coast Guard Station Toledo received a call from the Toledo Fire Department reporting a woman had fallen through the ice on the Maumee River.

Rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Toledo and an aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit were launched to assist local fire and police responders who were already on scene but were unable to reach the women due to the icy conditions.

The Washington Township Ice Rescue Team was able to reach the woman by hovercraft and pull her from the water. At approximately 11:55 a.m., the Station Toledo short-haul Ice Rescue Team arrived on scene and set-up closer to shore and used a MARSARS board to transfer the women from the hovercraft and up a icy rock embankment.  At 12:17 p.m., the Coast Guard rescue crew then transferred the women to awaiting emergency medical services.

When transferred, the woman was severely hypothermic and unresponsive but breathing. The woman was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Toledo for further treatment. The woman’s current condition is unknown at this time.

“Ice is very dangerous so we remind people that when you’re in or near icy water we want people to be safe and remember the acronym ICE to keep themselves safe and possibly save themselves if they fall through the ice,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Segura, ice rescue team leader at Station Toledo.

While the Coast Guard understands winter recreation on cold water and ice around the Great Lakes is a tradition, it is important to take safety measures:

  • Intelligence – Know the weather and ice conditions, know where you’re going, and know how to call for help.
  • Clothing – Have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia; dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
  • Equipment – Have proper equipment: marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers/ice picks, etc.

 

Cold water kills quickly! Surprisingly, cold water is defined as any water temperature less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  The fact that air temperatures might be far above freezing is irrelevant when people unexpectedly enter the water.

  • Great Lakes weather is unpredictable and dangerous, especially during seasonal transitions.  Always check and monitor the marine weather forecast before any trip out onto the lakes.  Lake-effect snow, high winds and dropping temperatures are good indicators an outing should be postponed.
  • Complete a “float plan.”  Always notify family and friends where you are going and when you expect to be back – and stick to the plan.  Be sure to notify them when plans change. Click here for information on float plans.
  • Never venture out alone; plan outings with other boaters who will be on their own vessels.
  • Carry all required and recommended safety gear, such as visual distress signals, a sound-producing device, etc.  Carry visual distress signals and a whistle in the pockets of the life jacket being worn so it’s close at hand in an emergency.
  • The Coast Guard recommends carriage of a registered personal locator beacon in addition to a VHF-FM marine radio, to alert the Coast Guard and local safety agencies of potential distress.  Consider a waterproof hand-held model that can be kept on one’s person.
  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. A life jacket allows a person to float with a minimum of energy expended and allows the person to assume the heat escape lessening position (H.E.L.P.) – bringing the knees close to the chest and holding them in place by wrapping the arms around the shin portions of the legs.

 

For more information on Coast Guard ice rescue assets, click here.

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