Hovercraft to the rescue in Crosslake
Fire department receives $23,000 donation to buy water, ice rescue machine
Lake County Echo, Crosslake, Minnesota USA
24 March 2010
by Katie Anderson
The Crosslake Fire Department has a new piece of equipment that will help save lives.
The department recently received an anonymous donation to buy a hovercraft water and ice
rescue machine that totaled approximately $23,000.
This hovercraft doesn’t just work in the water; it works on top of the frozen ice.
Crosslake assistant fire chief Don Kosloski has been performing all of the training for
the new machine and said this hovercraft, unlike the department’s old one, can go
from ice to water and back easily.
|Crosslake assistant fire chief Don Kosloski drove the
department’s new hovercraft during training exercises Saturday, March 20.|
“The old one we have only holds two people and is too unstable to take out on the
water. We could only use it for ice rescues,” Kosloski said. The department still
has its 1984 Scat Hovercraft, but firefighters are sure they will be getting more calls
for help from other departments now that they have their HoverTrek™ by Neoteric.
This new machine is much more stable and seats four people easily, which will make both
water and ice rescues much safer and easier.
“To do a rescue, you need at least two firefighters, one to drive and one to be able to
help the victim in the hovercraft. With our old hovercraft, the firefighter would have to
get out of the machine and stay in the water or on the ice until we dropped off the victim
and then came back,” Kosloski said.
Ever since Kosloski and another firefighter went to pick up the new hovercraft a few weeks ago
in Indiana, where they received many hours of training, the Crosslake Fire Department has been
training on weekends.
Kosloski said it takes him a whole weekend to train four people. The hovercraft is tricky to
drive, Kosloski said, and it takes a lot of practice. There are two buckets on the back of
the machine that enable it to turn on a dime as well as hover in one place.
Five of the department’s 25 firefighters are fully trained and ready to use the new
Kosloski said the Crosslake and Brainerd fire departments are the only two in Crow Wing County
with a hovercraft water and ice rescue machine.
The Crosslake Fire Department is grateful to the anonymous person who donated the money to buy
the new hovercraft.
“We are really lucky to get this new piece of equipment. It’s going to save
lives,” Kosloski said.
Assistant chief Kosloski received his
hovercraft pilot training from Chris Fitzgerald, president of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.