LOWELL, Mass. (WWLP) – A man was rescued from the Merrimack River by air lift Wednesday night after a joint rescue effort, police say.
According to a news release sent to 22News from State Police spokesman David Procopio, Lowell firefighters and police officers responded to reports of a person screaming in the Merrimack River near Aiken Street Bridge shortly after 7 p.m.
Trinity Ambulance and UMass-Lowell Police also responded and assisted.
Procopio said firefighters found an “emotionally distraught male standing on rocks in waist-deep icy water.” Officers and firefighters then launched two boats to rescue the man, who has not been identified.
Procopio said in the news release that the boats’ propellers became damaged on ice disabling the boats vessels.
That was when Lowell officials requested for a State Police Air Wing from the Lawrence air base. Procopio said when the troopers arrived, they “observed that the man had slipped into water that was now neck high and that he was becoming immobile and likely hypothermic.”
Realizing the rescue boats were unable to reach the man, the trooper piloting the helicopter flew around several minutes to get it into position for a rescue, “ultimately getting it so close enough to the victim that the aircraft’s skids were in the water,” according to the news release.
“Trooper Phippen opened the door and, strapped in, hung outside the helicopter and grabbed the hypothermic victim, who was not moving on his own,” Procopio added in the news release.
After pulling the man inside the helicopter, Procopio said the crew flew him directly to Lowell General Hospital to receive emergency care.
The man is expected to survive.
There is no word on how he landed in the water or if there is an investigation.