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DNR Officers Save Man From Flood Waters

Last updated on Tuesday, December 24, 2013

(UNDATED) - The Department of National Resources saved Christmas this year.

Indianapolis Star reporter Jill Disi reports that this rescue actually happened Saturday night in rural Pike County, when DNR officials say they saved a Velpen man from high flood waters.

The man's name? Michael Christmas, of course.

According to a DNR news release, Pike County Highway Superintendent Josh Byrd was placing road barriers just before 7 p.m. on flooded Pike County Road 900 East when he heard calls for help coming from the flood waters.

After Byrd called 911, several rescue crews arrived at the scene, including conservation officers Jon Watkins and Shane Cooper. Watkins and Cooper launched their patrol boat and searched a flooded cornfield where the man was suspected to be trapped, the release said.

At about 9:30 p.m. -- more than three hours after the search began -- they found Christmas about 100 yards from the road, clinging onto a bridge abutment.

Christmas, 30, told police he was on his way home from his job in Otwell, Ind., and decided to try to drive through the flooded roadway. The news release says he tried to turn around when he noticed the water getting deeper near a bridge.

When Christmas tried turning around, his vehicle began to float and got caught in the current. Christmas was separated from the vehicle and was carried away until he caught onto some vegetation and regained his footing, the release says.

Because it was dark, Christmas couldn't find high ground, the release says, so he returned to the bridge.

Christmas was taken to Jasper Memorial Hospital by Pike County Ambulance and was treated for hypothermia before being released.

Pike County is about 125 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

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