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Trooper Rescues Man, 90, from Rushing River

Trooper Rescues Man, 90, from Rushing River

A 90-year-old man was pulled from the swift, cold waters of the John Day river by an Oregon State Police Trooper today. [Courtesy of Oregon State Police]

Oregon Live via YellowBrix

May 25, 2010

GRANT COUNTY, OR – An Oregon State Police Trooper rescued a 90-year-old man from the swift currents of the John Day River today, state police reported.

Grant County emergency dispatchers received reports of a car submerged in the river about 1:55 p.m. in the Picture Gorge area of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, about five miles west of Dayville.

Emergency responders spotted a man, identified as Milton Pearlman of Northeast Portland, clinging for his life in cold water swollen from recent rain, said Sgt. Gordon Larson, a state police spokesman.

Trooper Marv Ritter, knowing that Pearlman faced hypothermia, strapped on a life jacket, tied himself to a safety line and jumped into the water upriver from the car.

Ritter swam to the middle of the river as the current carried him downstream. As he approached the car, he reached out and grabbed hold, then strapped Pearlman into an extra life jacket.

Sgt. Larson and other emergency personnel pulled the pair to safety.

Pearlman was taken to John Day Hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

Ritter was assisted at the scene by other troopers, Grant County sheriff’s deputies, Dayville ambulance and fire personnel, Oregon Department of Transportation employees and concerned citizens, Larson said.

State police still don’t know how Pearlman fell into the water.

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