DNR Recognizes Eight with Lifesaving Awards
The DNR thanks a team of first aiders who jumped – and flown – last fall to rescue a missing hunter.
The search and rescue operation took place on the opening day – November 15th. A 75-year-old hunter was lost in the woods along the Platte River in Benzie County. The man, who is from abroad, had hunted in the same area for many years, according to DNR. Conservation officers, the US Coast Guard, and an MSP K-9 team all came to the rescue. On Wednesday, eight of them were honored for their life-saving efforts in dangerous conditions during a ceremony at Air Station Traverse City.
Deputy Asst. Chief David Shaw of the DNR Law Enforcement Division says, “We just had a combination of the worst weather imaginable. Started on the day, it announced gale force – 40 mph winds. Driving rain that turned into snow later in the afternoon and temperatures fluctuated around the 20s.
“I think 9 different agencies responded to this one incident. And over 25 officers, including the Coast Guard, used one of their helicopters along with a crew and one of our officers on board, ”says Shaw.
After dark, the hunter was found in swampy conditions and got stuck. The Coast Guard helicopter was able to find him and direct the ground crew to him. The MSP K-9 was able to track the odor and localize it. Shaw also credits the initially responding conservation officer, Amanda McCurdy, who he says saw the need for additional staff fairly quickly, which likely helped save the man’s life. The DNR says it is possible that the hunter would not have survived even hours under these conditions.
Shaw adds, “There were different agencies with different specializations coming into play. Our officers on site were able to use ORVs to evacuate the person. MSP was able to get a K-9 inside and find the person in the dark after the Coast Guard helicopter originally located them. So everyone brought something to the plate. But this would not have been possible without the partnership. ”
The DNR says this may be the first time they’ve given so many life-saving awards for an incident. A total of 11 received the Life Saving Awards.
The recognized include:
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Frank Wolfe
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. JG Brandon Skelly
US Coast Guard AMT2 Ryan Chlosta
US Coast Guard AST1 Simon Ochoa
Michigan State Police Trooper Jeremy Martin (canine unit)
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Division;
Sgt. Dan bigger
CO Patrick McManus
CO Scott MacNeil
CO Sam Koscinski
CO Amanda McCurdy
CO Rich Stowe