MIAMI TWP. - A 70-year-old duck hunter survived after his boat capsized Sunday on the icy Great Miami River in Hamilton County's Shawnee Lookout Park.
The man was in the frigid water for about two hours before being spotted by other duck hunters.
"They pulled him out of the water and kept him warm," said Todd Williams, of the Hamilton County Park Rangers' Shawnee Lookout park office. "They're heroes."
Williams said Jerry Vickers took his motorized flat-bottom boat out alone Sunday morning. At about 10 a.m., he thinks Vickers may have leaned over the side of the boat in an attempt to loosen debris caught in the rear propeller. The motion rocked the boat enough to cause it to capsize, Williams said.
Two hours later, a group of duck hunters spotted Vickers. They pulled him from the cold water into their boat or his boat, and called authorities.
They said Vickers was "conscious but a little incoherent" when they reached him, Williams said.
The hunters tied his boat to theirs to tow it back to shore.
When rescue crews arrived, they commandeered a boat being operated by another group of duck hunters to bring the man back to shore more quickly. He was taken to University Hospital and released at about 6 p.m.
Williams said the man's body temperature was 94 degrees when he got to the hospital.
It was not the first water rescue at that park, but the first one Williams has been involved in.
Williams said all the hunters - those who found Vickers and those who loaned their boat to the retrieval effort - should be considered heroes for their efforts.
Temperatures reached the mid-30s on Sunday with wind gusts of 28 to 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
The 1,421-acre park has a boat ramp giving access to the Great Miami River. It also includes hundreds of acres of wetlands, an 18-hole golf course and the Shawnee Center - a club house, pro shop and snack shop with archaeological exhibits.