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CLEVELAND — A Linden, Calif., native and a 2007 graduate of Linden High School made his first rescue as a Coast Guard rescue swimmer when he and his fellow air crewmembers assisted a duckhunter who was stuck in the mud in Lake St. Clair near Mitchell's Bay, Ontario, Friday, November 2.
The name and hometown of the individual assisted in this case is not being released by the Coast Guard at this time.
At 7 a.m., a good Samaritan called the London, Ontario Provincial Police reporting that two people were stuck in the mud aboard a 15-foot boat. Shortly after receiving the report, the OPP officers notified a search-and-rescue coordinator from Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, who proceeded to coordinate the response.
Prior to rescue assets arriving on scene, one of the boaters reportedly jumped out of the boat and freed the boat from the mud but in the process got himself stuck.
Due to the location of the stuck individual, response assets on scene were unable to assist the man. The search-and-rescue coordinator at JRCC Trenton then requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard's 9th District Command Center, located in Cleveland at around 3:45 p.m. The SAR coordinator there directed the launch of a rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit.
The Detroit-based aircrew quickly arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 3rd Class Troy Ramsdell, from an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter. Ramsdell made his way through the mud and assisted the man from the waist-deep mud. The stranded duckhunter and Ramsdell, who was conducting his first rescue as a rescue swimmer, was hoisted up to the helicopter by Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Wolner, the flight mechanic, and pilots Lt. Ryan Lamb and Lt. Bruce Wilson. Upon arriving into the aircraft, the aircrew assessed the hunter's condition and was returned to his hunting buddy aboard the 15-foot boat, now free from the mud. The rescue was successfully completed at 4:49 p.m.
"It was an awesome case," said Ramsdell. "It wasn't nearly as hard as what they put us through in A-school. Thanks to school and my shop, I was prepared and knew exactly what I needed to do."
"Once the duck hunter was back on his boat," Ramsdell said, "he took off his glove, stuck out his hand, looked me directly in the eyes, and said, 'I would have died if you hadn't have come. Thank you.' We shook hands."
The Coast Guard reminds all boaters to be prepared for all emergencies, especially as the seasons change from fall to winter and the water and air temperatures continue to decrease.