BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – More details were released this morning following a daring rescue of a man who had been partially submerged in a slough in southwest Fort Madison.
According to a press release issued this morning, the man, who has not been identified at this point, had been in the water for approximately an hour before he was able to make verbal contact with someone on the shore, and had been yelling for help.
The vehicle was approximately 600 feet from any viable rescue location, in the middle of the slough, and firefighters had to use GPS location to find the safest place to launch a rescue operation.
After traveling down a railroad access road south of 33rd Street about a mile, firefighters Justin Cain and Alex Meierotto donned water gear and began walking with a sled and a rope secured at the shore, toward the vehicle.
About 100 feet from the vehicle, the ice broke, but Cain continued toward the vehicle in the water, while Meierotto staged at the point of the break. Cain found one person conscious in the back seat of the truck and was able to get a harness around him and extract him.
While transferring the man to the ice sled, the victim slipped under the water and Cain entered the water to pull him back up onto the sled. Meierotto moved through the water to assist at that point and the two were able to get the man on the sled and pushed him to safety, while firefighters on shore pulled from their side.
There has been no update on the man’s condition, and due to federal HIPAA guidelines that information may not be made available at this time.
He was taken to the Fort Madison Community Hospital by way of Lee County EMS. Fort Madison Police, Lee County Sheriff’s deputies also assisted with the rescue.
Fire officials said that despite the frigid temperatures are ice thickness on county waterways varies regularly and present dangerous conditions.