CLEVELAND — A U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew airlifted two teenagers who were adrift in Rondeau Bay this morning.
The men were walking along the shore and climbed onto a raft, which was covered by a duckblind, when the raft suddenly broke free and drifted into the bay.
Search and rescue controllers at the Coast Guard’s 9th District Command Center were contacted by personnel at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, at 4:51 a.m., after they received a report of two men adrift on ice in the bay. Reportedly, the men were not wearing lifejackets and had become stranded while duck hunting.
A Coast Guard Air Station Detroit aircrew was directed to launch aboard an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter. Arriving on scene at 6:21 a.m., the aircraft’s rescue swimmer was lowered to the raft and both men were airlifted into the helicopter. They were taken to Chatham Airport, where they were turned over to awaiting EMS.
“This case is just a perfect example of our bi-national collaboration and cooperation with our Canadian partners,” said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of response for the 9th Coast Guard District.
“Working together, the Canadian Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, and Ontario Provincial Police were able to put the right emergency response asset, complete with a crew with the right capabilities, at the scene, which allowed us to successfully reach these boys and get them home.”
With unusually warm temperatures this winter in the Great Lakes region, people who plan to recreate on or near the water should monitor the weather and ensure they have all the recommended safety gear. When venturing out, a person should think I.C.E. as a precaution:
Intelligence — know the weather and ice conditions, know where you are going, and know how to call for help. Never go out alone.
Clothing — have the proper clothing to prevent hypothermia. Wear a waterproof exposure suit and a life preserver.
Equipment — have the proper equipment. Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers, in case you fall in. Use these items to dig into the ice and pull yourself out. They are more effective than bare hands! Carry a whistle or noise maker to alert people that you are in distress. Carry a cellular phone or marine band radio in a waterproof container so that you can call for help if you come across trouble.