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Firefighters rescue man trapped in river

MONTAGUE CITY — Multiple fire departments worked for three hours to rescue a local man trapped on an island in the Connecticut River Saturday night.

Capt. Michael Morin of the Turners Falls Fire Department said the man’s two friends on the shore called police after rising water trapped the 20-year-old on the island below the dam a couple hundred yards upriver from the spot know as the “rock dam.”

Morin said the man couldn’t swim but tried to make it the approximately 50 feet to shore through fast-moving water about 6 feet at its deepest.

Morin said the man was dragged underwater and pulled himself back to the island, but was injured in the process.

The fire department got the call at 7:12 p.m. and responded with a rescue boat but could not reach the island from the boat launch due to the rock dam, Morin said.

Five firefighters from the Turners Falls and Greenfield departments carried the man to shore in a rescue basket after the utility company lowered the water level to one foot, according to Morin.

The two departments’ technical rescue teams had set up a rope system and hauled the basket up the steep embankment, which Morin estimated at 75 feet, although he said the impression of height might have been accentuated by the effort of hauling the patient up the hill at night.

The patient, Joshua Hinterleiner of Turners Falls, was turned over to Baystate Health Ambulance paramedics.

Morin and a police officer waited with Hinterleiner on the island and Morin said his injuries appeared to be mostly bruising.

Police and the Gill and Deerfield fire departments also responded to the scene, with a Northfield engine company covering the Turners Falls station, according to Morin.

Turner Falls Fire Capt. Leon Ambo said he did not believe the island was in danger of being submerged.

Morin said he did not know why the three were down by the river.

Sunday Hinterleiner had been treated and released, according to a hospital spokesman.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:

ccurtis@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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