(BROWNSTOWN) – The Brownstown Fire Department has a new Neoteric Hovercraft to assist with water rescues.
Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Travis McElfresh says the Hovercraft was purchased June 15, 2019 for $40,000.
The oval-shaped craft’s bottom is made up of 66 black fabric bags connected by heavy-duty zip ties and makes a lot of noise as it zooms across the water.
Hovercraft uses fans or propellers to create lift and thrust. Lift air is captured in a flexible fabric skirt, causing the craft to hover above the surface. Thrust air is directed backward to move the craft forward.
The vehicle is maneuvered by handlebars like a motorcycle. Chief McElfresh says the craft can top out at 45 miles per hour on the water and 65 miles per hour on the ice. This craft difference from others because it can also go in reverse and can turn 180 and 360 degrees.
“It can run over mud, dry land, the road, on water and swift water,” he added.
Since its purchase Chief McElfresh says it has been used on 11 rescues involving 14 people.
Between Jan. 1 and June 18, 2019 Jackson County had 55 calls for water rescues with nearly a third of them since June 1, 2019.