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Old 06-03-15, 14:05   #1
 
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Arrow Right Coast Guard Rescue on Frozen Lake St.Clair

He first appeared as a tiny black speck, nearly swallowed up in a vast, frozen expanse of jagged white ice.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Neah Bay, breaking way Thursday through the middle of a frozen Lake St. Clair, thought it might be a wolf or even a group of eagles.

It wasn’t.

“We couldn’t tell what it was until we got about half a mile from him,” said Petty Officer Second Class Scott Sjostrom. “It turned out to be a person who was just wandering in the middle of Lake St. Clair.”
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, home-ported in Cleveland, rescued a 25-year-old man attempting to walk across Lake St. Clair, March 5, 2015. (LT. JOSH ZIKE/U.S. Coast Guard)

The coast guard crew rescued a 25-year-old American man Thursday who was trying to walk across the icebound lake into Canada. After his rescue, still recovering from hypothermia, he told officials he was trying to walk from Detroit to Toronto.

Sjostrom, part of the two-man crew who plucked him from the icy grip of certain death, said the man told him he’d been on the ice a couple days. It’s possible that was the hypothermia talking.

The 19-person crew of the Neah Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug out of Cleveland, happened to be in the area Thursday grooming tracks for tanker ships.

The boat was in the middle of the lake around 9:30 a.m. when the lookout noticed something in the distance. Sjostrom said it was about five nautical miles from the Michigan shoreline. That’s more than nine kilometres.

“Usually we see a lot of bald eagles out here so that’s what we thought it was, maybe a group of eagles or a wolf,” said Sjostrom.

The crew steered the boat toward whatever it was. When Sjostrom realized what he was dealing with, one thing became clear.

“This guy needs help quick,” he said. “Usually in my head I’m thinking of someone’s family and if they’re married or have kids. Basically their lives are in your hands once we arrive on scene. We are their saving grace. We’ve got to get them off the water, off the ice, out of the predicament they’re in.”

As the boat inched closer to the man, Sjostrom and his ice-rescue partner, Petty Officer Third class Ethan Fryar, slipped into their gear. It’s a “three-layer system.”

The first layer is similar to a pair of long johns that wick the water away from the skin if they get wet. The second layer – they call it the bunny suit – is a fleece zip-up one-piece. The third layer is a dry suit to keep the water out if they go through the ice. On top of that they wear personal flotation devices.

The pair had to walk a couple hundred yards from the boat to the stranded man.

“You want to take things slow and smooth but deliberate and ensure we can get this person to safety,” said Sjostrom.

The ice is thick and Sjostrom knows how to handle himself in an emergency, so he wasn’t worried about falling through.

“What was hard to transit was the rubble field created by all the tracks that the tankers go through,” said Sjostrom. “They make these big, huge balls of ice which you’ve got to climb over. It’s a slipping, tripping hazard. I didn’t want to break my ankle while I was walking out there.”

When they got to him, said Sjostrom, the man was awake and moving. But he didn’t seem to know where he was.

“When we first arrived on scene he was very lethargic,” said Sjostrom. “He was not answering questions and he was shivering very bad.”

Sjostrom said the temperature on the lake was around -21 C with the wind chill.

“He wasn’t dressed for the elements. He wasn’t dressed for someone who would be snowmobiling or ice fishing. He was just wearing what you’d wear in town on a cold day.”

They put the man into a flotation device, just in case they did go through the ice. There was now the weight of three men in a small area, so that was a risk.

It took about half an hour from the time the lookout spotted the man to when Sjostrom and Fryar got him back to the Neah Bay.

The crew wrapped him a hypothermia bag and took him to the municipal pier in Algonac, Mich., near Walpole Island, where paramedics were waiting.

“He’s very lucky we were doing our job in this area today or no one would have seen him,” said Sjostrom.

Here is a Video of the Rescue:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/393395/uscgc-neah-bay-rescues-lake-st-clair-walker#.VPmwJeGRa80
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Old 08-03-15, 03:20   #2
 
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Default Re: Coast Guard Rescue on Frozen Lake St.Clair

Reminds me of the Movie/Video, last year made about a group of Amateur/Pro Canadian Hockey Players that tried to skate across the ice from Toronto to New York, just to see how easy it would be for folk from the US,,, to reach Canada..

They achieved it and were very happy to return to Canada..

Gee. I understand those guys trying to get out of the US & go into Canada... But good luck to them for trying..

Interesting report FreaknDavid, & thanks for it..
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