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      Coast Guard helicopter assists in Upper Michigan rescue

      A United States Coast Guard helicopter assisted the Michigan State Police in locating and rescueing a man lost in Ontonagon County on Sunday night.

      According to the Coast Guard, a 20-year-old man was lost on the Firesteel River. The Michigan State Police contacted the Coast Guard at around 10 p.m. to request helicopter assistants to search for the man that had been kayaking or canoeing on the river.

      The man contacted police, but his signal was sparse due to cellular coverage and low battery, according to police. The man added that he was wet, cold and did not know his exact location.

      The Coast Guard helicopter arrived from the station in Traverse City, but was unable to hoist him to safety due to tree cover. A radio, blanket, strobe light and chemical lights were dropped to the man to assist the state police in finding him.

      "We value the opportunity to assist our fellow first responders with our unique search and rescue techniques and assets namely the hoisting abilities our helicopters have," said Capt. Stephen Torpey. "Our rescue crews stand ready to assist our partner agencies as our resources and time are available."

      The Coast Guard offered a list of tips for those venturing out into the lakes and rivers during the spring.

      * ensure all of your communications equipment and emergency equipment is operable; * purchase and carry an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) on board in the event of an emergency; * carry a GPS unit on board or, at a minimum, maintain knowledge of local waters; * have a properly working VHF-radio with Channel 16 capabilities; * know your location at all times to help expedite the Coast Guard's response in an emergency; * tell a family member or friend your travel plans so that if you become overdue, someone can alert authorities