It’s been said that adversity introduces a man to himself. Last night, the mouth of the Carp River provided plenty. Two men, stranded on an ice flow 50 yards from shore, could only watch as a team of first responders threw caution to the wind and did what they do best: help, despite any danger that lies ahead.
The brave men and women of the Marquette Fire Department were dispatched to the icy banks of Lake Superior around 8:30 p.m., on an evening that saw the needle dip below freezing. It wasn’t a typical night for April, but it was business as usual for the Marquette Police, County Sheriffs Department, Medi-Ride 156, Marquette General, and the U.S. Coast Guard, all of whom were raring and ready to assist in the rescue.
Initial attempts to shoot a line across or lasso a rope over fell short. Time was of the essence, so the plan quickly shifted to a water rescue. With only a wetsuit between the rescuers and the frozen stew of frigid waters mixed with chunks of ice, the Marquette Firefighters exacted their strategy. Making it to the lonely island through crashing waves was only half the battle. Now they needed to secure the stranded before wading their way back to safety. The concerted effort was a deliberate process. Everyone’s safety remained paramount.
Through teamwork and perseverance, both men made it to shore along with the daring duo that saved them. The trapped twosome was whisked away to Marquette General Hospital where they were treated for hypothermia, while the rescue team tended to one another. While you could barely see their faces through the blowing winds and falling snow, the camaraderie was hard to miss. The rescue was fortunate to finish when it did because just minutes later the floe was washed away into the distance. It’s comforting to know that for the men and women on the scene, it was business as usual.