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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.

Neoteric Hovercraft photo Crosslake Fire Dept
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 hovercraft machine.

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 rescue hovercraft pilot training from Chris Fitzgerald, president of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.

 
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