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Open Water Rescue 4/12/03

James City County Fire Department
Sunday 4/13/2003


On Saturday, April 12 the James City County 911 Center received a report of a man in the water just off shore from the Governors Land Golf Clubhouse. The area is the junction of the James and Chickahominy Rivers. The call was received at 11:42 AM. The James City County Fire Department responded with three Boats. Two Engine Companies and two Ambulance Companies were assigned to support the boat operations and to provide EMS support for the patients.


Upon arrival, our units found one person, Laird O’Dell (Age 42) from West Virginia already on shore at Governors Land. Mr. O'dell reported that another person was with him. The second person (Mike Wheeler (Age 45) of Beckley, West Virginia) had been picked up by a canoeist on the river. The canoe was intercepted by Fire Department Boat 3 and transported to shore. Both patients were treated for hypothermia.

The men had been fishing on board a 16 foot Bass Boat when it began to take on water and eventually capsized. Both men began to swim, yelling and motioning to gain the attention of folks on shore. They were successful in their efforts.


The James City County Fire Department was assisted by the Williamsburg Fire Department and the James City Bruton Volunteer Fire Department.


Tal Luton
District Chief
James City County Fire Department
(757) 565-7605
(757) 592-1357



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