Unconscious man rescued from Housatonic River

Orange and Shelton firefighters on Sunday afternoon rescued an unconscious man who was injured on the Housatonic River in Orange, carrying him from a remote area to waiting paramedics, according to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department.

Orange Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas said the man, who is in his 20s, was using a rope swing in a remote area where youths often have parties. He swung out over the Housatonic, but struck rocks when he landed. He suffered head and leg injuries and was unconscious.

Dumas said civilians on the scene moved the man to shore and alerted authorities. It was determined that the quickest way to evacuate the victim was carrying him in a special stretcher called a Stokes basket. Orange firefighters walked to the scene on railroad tracks while Shelton firefighters responded by boat, according to Orange fire officials.

Firefighters from both departments worked together to immobilize the man and place him in the basket stretcher. Orange and Shelton firefighters then carried the man about a quarter mile to waiting EMS crews.

Derby’s Storm Ambulance and AMR paramedics treated and transported the victim to the hospital.

“This is a great example of how area departments work together to take care of our neighbors,” said Dumas. “It also shows the dedication of local firefighters and EMS personnel.”

Dumas said the area where the man was hurt has presented problems for firefighters in the past and he urged residents to stay away from it.

“Every kid likes to have a place out of the watchful eye of parents to enjoy themselves,” he said. “The people who walk down the railroad tracks to these areas by the river are actually putting themselves in grave danger. We’ve had fires there and others hurt and it’s difficult to get there to help.”

The call for help came in around 2:30 p.m., said Dumas. About 10 firefighters from Orange responded in addition to personnel from Shelton, Derby and Ansonia fire departments, Orange police and other agencies.

The name of the injured man has not been released.