Mass. Trooper Hangs from Helicopter in Icy River Rescue - NBC Chicago
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Mass. Trooper Hangs from Helicopter in Icy River Rescue

Lowell police Lt. Donald Crawford described the rescue as "truly heroic"

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    Massachusetts State Police
    Massachusetts state police Sgt. Brandon Arekalian and troopers John Hazelrigg and Russ Phippen check Air 4 for damage after rescuing a man from an icy river Wednesday evening, Jan. 3, 2018.

    A Massachusetts State Police trooper hanging out of a helicopter as it skimmed the frigid Merrimack River was able to pluck a man from the water in a last-ditch rescue effort.

    A state police spokesman tells the Boston Globe the helicopter was on the scene in Lowell Wednesday night to provide illumination via spotlight. But when efforts to reach the man by boat were foiled by ice and rocks, the flight crew decided to attempt a rescue themselves.

    Trooper John Hazelrigg maneuvered around the river's surface, dipping the helicopter's skids in the icy water as Trooper Russ Phippen pulled the man aboard.

    The man was flown to a hospital and is expected to survive.

    Lowell police Lt. Donald Crawford described the rescue to the Lowell Sun as "truly heroic."