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An Anne Arundel County man was rescued Thursday morning from the ice-clogged Patapsco River as he clung to the his overturned kayak.
Randall Heath, 46, of Pasadena fell from his boat while duck hunting about a quarter-mile offshore. His life jacket did not inflate and could not get back inside. A Maryland Natural Resources Police officer patrolling nearby heard emergency radio calls from Anne Arundel Fire Department and launched a patrol boat from Stoney Creek. Battling through ice floes up to six inches think, the officer reached the scene in 15 minutes.
“I didn’t see anything — it was a field of ice,” Officer Antonio Colvin said.
For 10 minutes, he methodically searched the area until a firefighter on shore guided him by phone to the victim.
Colvin came alongside the nearly submerged kayak, where Heath was trying desperately to stay afloat. The officer maneuvered the victim to the stern of the patrol boat and tied a rope to his belt loops to keep him from sinking. From there, he wrestled Heath aboard.
“It was amazingly difficult to get him in,” Colvin said. “Luckily, the ice quickly reformed around my hull and gave me a nice, level, steady playing field to get him in.”
Meanwhile, Anne Arundel County firefighters in survival suits launched a dinghy and began rowing to the scene. Colvin picked them up and they began reviving Heath, who was shivering uncontrollably and unable to speak. The patrol boat fought its way through the ice to the Atlantic Marina Resorts docks on Knollview Avenue in Pasadena, where emergency medical technicians were waiting.
Heath was taken to University of Maryland Baltimore-Washington Medical Center for evaluation and further treatment of hypothermia and a broken hand.