Albany firefighters rescue 2 people from icy waters
ALBANY, N.Y. - Some dangerous moments Wednesday for members of the Albany Fire Department, who had to rescue two hikers in the ice cold waters of the Normanskill Creek.
The 911 call came in just after 4:00 p.m. Wednesday for two hikers stranded on the Albany side of the creek.
Albany's Fire Chief Robert Forezzi calls the rescue a "dynamic and detailed operation" and one that was very dangerous too.
Rescuers not only had to get into the icy waters, but travel across the creek from the Bethlehem side in the dark.
"These types of calls, they occur very infrequently, but they are extremely dangerous to the rescuers and the victims," says Chief Forezzi. "It's a very steep, steep ravine. Our engine company made it to them, but would not be able to get back up that steep hill with the snow and ice conditions."
Chief Forezzi says at that point, the rescue squad changed gears, going to the Bethlehem side of the creek using zodiac boats to cross to the other side to reach the hikers.
Patrick Hines, the captain of the rescue squad, says the depth and current of the creek made things very difficult and dangerous.
"When we put a guy in the water, he's always tethered on a rope," Hines says. "The issue with any moving water is when the current contacts that line, it's no different than having an anchor attached to that line. It will drag you under. So navigating the water at any depth above thigh high is very dangerous."
But the rescue was successful, both victims and the firefighters making it to safety.
"The city has equipped us with some of the top of the line water rescue suits, the cold water gear we have certainly protected our members very well, and that's why no one was injured," says Hines. "Years ago, several of our members would have been suffering from hypothermia tonight."
One of the hikers did sustain a leg injury from falling into the creek.
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