A simple walk with his dog turned into a nightmare for a man who ended up clinging to a tree branch to keep from drowning in the rushing water of the Croton River.
The man became stranded while chasing his dog who ran into the water in the Croton Gorge Park section of the river around 7 p.m. Wednesday, said the Croton Fire Department on Facebook.
A passerby noticed the man and called 911.
After receiving the call, Croton Fire headed to the river with a water rescue unit along with the Yorktown Fire Water Rescue team, EMS responders from Ossining and Croton, Westchester County Police Department with their helicopter and other specialized equipment, and units from the Croton Police.
Because of the strong current, the department used their 100-foot aerial ladder platform to gain access to the river after firefighters cut away tree branches with a chainsaw.
Once in position, they were able to talk with the man and lowered a floatation vest, rescue sling and rope to him, the department said.
But as members of the YHFD Water Rescue Team were preparing to launch their boat from upstream, the man became more visibly fatigued and showing signs of possible hypothermia, the department added.
A decision was made to have the man let go of the tree and allow the current and rope attached to him bring him to rescuers downstream by way of a “pendulum” method. Once the swing was in place, he floated downstream where he was rescued by the Croton firefighters.
The man was taken to Westchester Medical Center for evaluation of non-life-threatening injuries. His dog had not been found as of late last night.
"This rescue could not have been successful without the training, equipment, and teamwork that was displayed by the 50+ First Responders on the scene from all agencies involved," the department said.
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