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Local News

April 19, 2013

Daring rescue from waters of the Upper Saranac

(Continued)

“The older gentleman couldn’t get his hands on the ice.

“I started yelling, ‘We’re here, we’re gonna get you out.’”

Hyatt donned a life jacket then carefully started moving along the ice shelf toward the two men.

“I spread my body weight out on the ice. I still broke through,” he said.

After Fisher was secured by the rope, Yoder began pulling him to safety. That was when Duntley went under.

‘BEYOND SHAKING’

“What I did was, I handed him the life jacket, and he put it under his arm the best he could. That, at least, kept his head above water,” Hyatt said.

“But he was losing consciousness. I knew that was it; I grabbed a hold of him.”

Fisher was safe, so Yoder tossed the rope to Hyatt.

“I wrapped it around my right arm and held the older gentleman by his shirt collar with the other, and Jimmy was pulling us out with the rope,” Hyatt said.

“We were actually breaking ice as he was pulling us in, as opposed to pulling us up onto the ice.”

Finally, after more than 15 minutes in the water, Duntley, too, was hauled up onto an ice shelf along the shore, where shade from some hemlocks had retarded melting.

“The older gentleman was beyond shaking. He wasn’t even shaking,” Hyatt said of the hypothermia that started to set in.

“The first thing I did was give him my hat. My head was dry. Then we tried to get some clothes off and just kept talking to him. He (Duntley) said ‘I have a bad heart,’ and, ‘I’m not gonna make it.’

Hyatt could hear the hovercraft approaching, and rescue crews and the Department of Environmental Conservation arrived soon thereafter.

“It was maybe 10 minutes waiting for the rescue personnel to get to us.”

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