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Pr. George's firefighters rescue two in separate incidents

Matt Zapotosky

Battling steep, snowy terrain and frigid — albeit shallow — waters, Prince George’s County firefighters rescued two people who otherwise could not get to safety in separate incidents Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Each rescue was dramatic. The first began about 6 p.m. Monday, when a teenage boy fell about 100 feet down a steep, snowy hill leading to a creek behind 13210 Marlton Center Dr. in Upper Marlboro, authorities said. The boy managed to climb up about 60 feet, authorities said, but he could go no farther and spent the next two hours calling for help.

His calls were heard about 8 p.m., and firefighters were dispatched to the scene, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.

Rescuers first tried to use a ladder to rescue the boy, but it was too unstable to climb, Brady said. They then switched to a rope and pulley rescue system, lowering a firefighter down to the boy, placing him in a safety harness and bringing him to the top of the hill, Brady said.

The boy was transported to a nearby hospital so he could be evaluated for hypothermia, Brady said. Brady said he was trying to contact the boy’s family Tuesday afternoon.

The second rescue occurred about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in a body of water known as the Northwest Branch, near New Hampshire Avenue and Piney Branch Road in Adelphi. That’s where authorities were called to check on an adult male who was standing motionless in the middle of the partially frozen, 3-foot-deep water, Brady said.

The man, who was possibly mentally unstable, did not respond to commands in English and Spanish to get out of the water, authorities said. He also never showed his left hand, and there was concern for a time that he might be armed, authorities said.

Two police officers donned cold-weather gear and dry suits and accompanied firefighters into the frozen waterway, authorities said. Though the man resisted briefly, rescuers were eventually able to get him onto shore, and he was soon transported to a hospital to be evaluated for hypothermia, Brady said.

Photos and videos of the incidents can be found on Brady’s blog.

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Matt Zapotosky  |  February 2, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Zapotosky , Pr. George's  
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