Rescue personnel from across Keith County responded to a water rescue Tuesday afternoon about 3.5 miles east of Keystone in the Nebraska Public Power District Canal. Keystone-Lemoyne Fire Chief Ralph Moul says an NPPD employee discovered an elderly man in the canal. The employee secured a buoy with rope to the hitch of his truck and then lowered himself into the canal. Moul says the elderly man went into the water to get his dog after it fell in. He says there’s no way to get out because of the steepness of the lined canal banks and the moss covered sides below the water line.
Moul estimated the 70-year-old man had been in the 40 degree water for over 45 minutes and the NPPD employee for over 20 minutes before rescue personnel were able to set up a rope rescue system on top. Rescuers were then sent down with cold water survival suits and bring the two men out of the water with harnesses.
Moul said the 70-year old man was transported to Great Plains Heath by medical helicopter in very serious condition. The 30-year old NPPD employee was transported to Banner Health Hospital in Ogallala by Paxton ambulance in good condition. Both had signs of hypothermia.
Ogallala and Paxton rescue crews also responded along with Keith County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska Game and Parks, Great Plains Health medical helicopter and Nebraska Public Power District.
Hear interview with Keystone-Lemoyne Fire Chief Ralph Maul.