Indiana Conservation officer saves Christmas

22 Dec

Yesterday evening, shortly before 7:00 PM, EST, Josh Byrd, Pike County Highway Superintendent, was placing road barriers on flooded Pike County Road 900 East, when he heard calls for help coming from out in the flood waters. He then contacted Pike County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch. The call came at 6:52 PM. The Jefferson Township Fire Department, Pike County Deputies, and Indiana Conservation Officers responded to the scene.
Conservation Officers Jon Watkins and Shane Cooper had been responding to similar flood related calls throughout the afternoon and were equipped to address this type of emergency. Arriving at the scene, they were able to launch their patrol boat from the roadway and begin a search of the flooded corn field. Christmas was found around 9:30 PM, approximately 100 yards into the flood waters, clinging onto a bridge abutment. By the time of the rescue, he had been in the flood waters about three hours.
According to the victim, Christmas was on his way home from where he worked in Otwell and decided to attempt to ride his 4-wheeler through the flooded roadway. As the water became deeper near a bridge, he decided to turn around. His vehicle began to float and got caught in the current separating Christmas from his 4-wheeler. Christmas was carried some distance with the current until he was able to latch onto some vegetation and regain his footing. Due to the darkness he was unable to find high ground. Now barefoot, he returned to the bridge, the only high point he knew.
Michael D. Christmas, 30, of Velpen Indiana. was transported to Jasper Memorial by Pike County Ambulance where he was treated for hypothermia and released.

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