03 January, 2015

Hovercraft: The Essential Vehicle for Ice Rescue Operations

"Walking in a Winter Wonderland" is a popular song right now. But that walk - or ride - can quickly turn into a nightmare when you're on thin ice. Statistics show that the most frequent victims in ice rescue operations are animals, children, ice fisherman, skaters, snowmobilers - and first responders. 

In ice rescues, time is of the essence; hypothermia and shock can occur in minutes, immobilizing victims and rescuers alike, and traditional ice rescue techniques simply take too long. Much of the usual ice rescue equipment - inflatable walkways, sleds and ropes - can put first responders in as much danger as the victims they're trying to rescue.

But hovercraft fly above the surface, keeping first responders above the danger and greatly speeding up the rescue process. A hovercraft is the only vehicle that can fly easily over thin or broken ice; other rescue vehicles require solid ice at least 5 inches thick. And the Neoteric HoverTrek™, with its patented reverse thrust system, is the most versatile hovercraft available for ice rescue operations.

Another way hovercraft speed up rescue operations is that victims don't have to be disembarked at the water's edge. As a multi-terrain vehicle, a hovercraft can take victims from water, across land or mud, and directly to a waiting ambulance.

The Wilkes-Barre Fire Department's Neoteric HoverTrek™ soars over broken ice on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. The hovercraft's 9-inch deep air cushion and reverse thrust enables it to safely maneuver over jagged, broken, snow-covered ice floes.

See for yourself how the HoverTrek™ operates on ice - take a ride with Neoteric customer Dirk Lohry as he flies over thin, cracked ice on McCook Lake in South Dakota ...

When CNN reported earlier this year on a Neoteric hovercraft's rescue of three deer from a frozen lake, the news anchors summed it up quite accurately: "Hovercraft are kind of a genius idea here ... if you go out there with a snowmobile, you're in trouble - it doesn't hover; it's just a craft ... Boats and jet skis are pretty useless on ice and snowmobiles fall through ice if it won't hold their weight. Hovercraft can fly over any surface, so they save many lives. If you fall through the ice, or get sucked into mud or quicksand, better hope someone locally has a hovercraft handy!"

First responders: Is a Neoteric hovercraft right for you?

Find out with a Test Flight or Training Course

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