Offbeat In a daring rescue, State Police in a helicopter pluck man from icy Merrimack River in Lowell

10:51  04 january  2018
10:51  04 january  2018 Source:   The Boston Globe

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State Police in a helicopter plucked a man from the frigid waters of the Merrimack River in Lowell Wednesday, according to an official. State Police spokesman David Procopio said in an e-mail that an “emotionally distraught man ” was located in the river and that firefighters had tried to reach

LOWELL , Mass. — A Massachusetts State Police trooper hanging out of a helicopter as it skimmed the frigid Merrimack River was able to pluck a man from the New York Post. latest in news. Trooper dramatically hangs from helicopter to rescue man from icy

A State Police helicopter after it landed at Lowell General Hospital on Wednesday night.© State Police A State Police helicopter after it landed at Lowell General Hospital on Wednesday night.

State Police in a helicopter plucked a man from the frigid waters of the Merrimack River in Lowell Wednesday, according to an official.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said in an e-mail that an “emotionally distraught man” was located in the river and that firefighters had tried to reach him on a boat but could not because of ice and rocks. Two boats were damaged in the rescue attempt, he said.

A State Police helicopter arrived around 7:15 p.m. with the intention of lighting up the scene near the Aiken Street Bridge with a spotlight, said Procopio, but after rescue attempts failed and the man slipped into deeper water and stopped moving, the two troopers in the aircraft decided to attempt a rescue themselves.

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“They were running out of options,” said Procopio during a brief phone interview Wednesday night.

The troopers flew to nearby LaLacheur Park, where the Red Sox minor league affiliate Lowell Spinners play their home games. There, they landed and Trooper Russ Phippen strapped himself into a backseat in the chopper, which would allow him to hang outside the helicopter. When they returned to the river in the helicopter, the man was up to his neck in water and clearly suffering from hypothermia, said Procopio.

Trooper John Hazelrigg, who was flying the helicopter, hovered above the water. The chopper got so low the skids of the aircraft were underwater, said Procopio. Hazelrigg maneuvered the helicopter for several minutes until Phippen could reach the man and drag him aboard.

They then flew the man to Lowell General Hospital.

As of 9:45 p.m., the man was alive at the hospital, said Procopio. His condition was unclear. His identity was not released.

Lowell fire deferred comment to Lowell police. Messages left with that department Wednesday night were not immediately returned.

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