Police helicopter rescues man, dogs from Va. lake - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Police helicopter rescues man, dogs from Va. lake

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Photo by Tom Fitzgerald/FOX 5 Photo by Tom Fitzgerald/FOX 5
GAINESVILLE, Va. - A U.S. Park Police helicopter crew rescued a man and his two dogs from an icy Prince William County lake Sunday.  The victim's son tells FOX 5 his dad went out onto the lake to rescue the dogs, and his canoe flooded. 

Police say it happened around 3:20 p.m. on Lake Manassas.  Two pilots and two rescue technicians aboard the helicopter Eagle 2 arrived at the scene, where Prince William County fire crews had already gone into the water, but weren’t able to rescue the man and his dogs because of the unstable ice. 

With Sgt. Kevin Chittick piloting the chopper, Sgt. David Tolson lowered about 20 feet down to the water to reach the victim, and Ofc. Michael Abate hoisted both men into the aircraft.  They then flew to the nearest shoreline where emergency crews were waiting to help the man.

After he was safe, the helicopter returned to the scene to search for the two dogs.  Ofc. Ryan Evasick was lowered down and managed to pull both dogs to the helicopter, and they were brought to shore. 

William Blackwell’s son, Channing, told FOX 5 he was outside with his dogs, Bella and Cocoa, and the dogs were chasing geese.  They went out onto the ice, where they became trapped.  He says his father, who is 80, got into a canoe to go after them, and when he rescued one of the dogs, the canoe tipped over.

According to his son, Mr. Blackwell was in the water for about an hour, and his body temperature was about 80 degrees when he arrived at the hospital. 

One of the dogs, Bella, survived, but the second dog, Cocoa, did not.
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