8 Hunters Rescued from Freezing Missouri River

SANTEE - Eight hunters, including two from Norfolk,  were rescued by helicopter Thursday from two boats stranded in the rapidly freezing Missouri River just east of Santee. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reports that the boats had been blocked by ice in the river, and attempts by Game and Parks officers to reach them had failed.  A Nebraska State Patrol helicopter from the Aviation Support Division in Lincoln pulled the hunters from the boats two at a time by mid-afternoon. The rescued men were identified as Eric Scranton and Mitch Scranton of Norfolk; Leigh Winterboer and Brad Rasmussen of Spencer, Iowa; Bill Lang of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Colby Kerber of Broken Bow; Matthew Cronk of Scottsdale, Arizona; and Ben Micek of Omaha.
South Dakota Game Fish and Parks had received a call for help at 11:30 Thursday morning. Three Nebraska Game and Parks officers, State Patrol Troop B officers from Norfolk, the Santee Police Department and Bloomfield Fire and Rescue responded.  The hunters said no ice was on the river when they put their boats in at 5:30 or 6 a.m. Thursday. The 18-foot flat-bottom boats were left in the river following the rescue.  No one was injured in the incident. The men had a dog with them, and the dog was also successfully rescued. Tom Zimmer, Game and Parks law enforcement supervisor for northeast Nebraska, said sportsmen must take precautions outdoors in changing conditions. He says the river can ice up very quickly.