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Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue saves the lives of two hunters from freezing Lake Mary near Flagstaff

DPS Air Rescue pulls two hunters from freezing Lake Mary

Monday, December 27, 2010 -


On December 27, 2010 DPS Northern Air Rescue was called by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit to assist in locating an overturned boat on Upper Lake Mary with victims clinging to the watercraft. The temperature at the time of the mid-morning search was 32 degrees. The water temperature in the lake was extremely cold with thin layers of ice on portions of the lake surface. DPS Officer/Pilot Brad Heppner and Officer/Paramedic Dave Brookshire responded from Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff in one of DPS’ Bell 407 (Ranger) helicopters. With the assistance of a Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputy, the DPS flight crew immediately located two victims in the water in the middle of Upper Lake Mary. One man was clinging to a flotation seat cushion about 100 yards from the boat and was motionless in the water. The other victim was clinging to the boat.

The DPS helicopter hovered down next to the victim clinging to the seat identified as Russell Price, 37, of Flagstaff. A rescue ring was attached to a rope in his hands. Price was lifted from the water and flown to the shoreline where he was treated by the Flagstaff Fire department for exhaustion and hypothermia. The second victim clinging to the boat was identified as David Wilson, 25, of Flagstaff. Flagstaff Ranger also lifted him out of the water using the rescue ring device. He was also treated on scene by Flagstaff Fire department.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said both men had been duck hunting in their small boat when one of them stood up to take a shot and lost his balance. The other man stood up and attempted to catch his friend and they both went into the water. It’s estimated the two men were in the freezing lake for about 30 minutes.

DPS Air Rescue is proud to have assisted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, the Flagstaff Fire Department and Guardian Medical Transport in saving the lives of these men.