Coast Guard Aircrew Rescues Snowmobilers

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DETROIT – Coast Guard crews from Air Station Detroit and Station Saginaw River, and Essexville, Mich., rescued five men on Saginaw Bay Feb.8, during two separate cases.

Two men were rescued from the eastern part of the bay, while three additional men were hoisted about a mile off of Bay City.

At about 7:30 p.m., search-and-rescue coordinators from Coast Guard Sector Detroit received a report of two snowmobilers who crashed through the ice about a mile off of Fish Point. A Station Saginaw River rescue crew launched aboard a 20-foot Special Purpose Craft-Air to assist. An aircrew from Air Station Detroit also responded aboard an MH-65C helicopter. The two men who had fallen through the ice were able to get out on their own by the time rescuers had arrived.

One of the individuals was experiencing signs of hypothermia and needed prescription medication he had lost in the water, so he was hoisted into the helicopter and transported to McLaren Hospital. While transporting the other individual to shore, the SPC-Air from Station Saginaw River froze onto the ice.. A Huron County airboat crew arrived on scene to help free the Coast Guard boat and transport the individual to shore.

Two hours later, at approximately 9:40 p.m., the Coast Guard received a 911 relay about three disoriented snowmobilers near Bay City. The crew from Air Station Detroit, returning to base following the earlier case, diverted and arrived on scene within minutes. Three men were hoisted and brought to Saginaw Airport in good condition and with no medical needs.

"Cases like tonight's can often end in tragedy," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Breguet, one of the Coast Guard pilots. "We were able to spot these men because of their reflective clothing. We recommend that people headed out onto the ice dress for the water not just the snow, and carry signaling devices and a portable marine band radio. Cell phones aren't always reliable on the bay."

"Tonight was also an excellent example of coordination by the Coast Guard and our local rescue partners in Saginaw Bay,” said Lt. Jason Neiman, another member of the aircrew. “Combined efforts like this are important when lives are on the line.”

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