Columbus Police Helicopter Pilots Help Save Man From Scioto River


A man was saved from the Scioto River on Wednesday afternoon with help from a Columbus Police helicopter.

"Someone had called in and said they'd heard someone under the Greenlawn bridge yelling for help," said Columbus Police pilot Jeff Ferguson.

Emergency crews were called to Greenlawn Avenue and South Front Street around 5 p.m. on a report of a man in the river.

Ferguson and his partner, Jim Cox, were seconds away when they spotted the man struggling to stay above water in a hole on the ice.

"His face was grey. His eyes were huge. He had this help me look," said Ferguson. "The helicopter is designed to hover. We were down six inches off the ice at the point he could get ahold of it."

The man was able to grab the bottom of the helicopter, but he wasn't able to hold on and slipped under the water for a few seconds. Then, he came back up.

"You could see in his eyes. He was in fear of his life," said Columbus Police pilot Jim Cox.

Police officers arriving at the scene scrambled down the hill with ropes in hand to throw to him.

"That was the big worry with hypothermia setting in. They start to lose their strength. Even if he can get hold of it, can we hold him up long enough for somebody to get here," said Ferguson.

Officers connected with belts reached out over the ice to grab him and pull him up. They carried him up the bank to waiting medics.

The man was transported to Grant Medical Center.

It is believed the man was walking on or near the ice that formed along the edge of the river when he somehow ended up in the water.