Pipeline worker rescued after logging machine breaks ice, submerges in water near Bemidji

Logging equipment fell through the ice at a Line 3 oil pipeline worksite south of Bemidji, Minn., on Saturday, trapping the operator inside the submerged machine, officials said.

As Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office deputies and medical personnel responded to the rural site in Lake Hattie Township just before 2 p.m., additional information came into dispatch that the cab had filled with water and other Line 3 workers were attempting to rescue the victim.

The workers were able to pull Roy Davis, 45, of Barnwell, S.C., out of the cab as deputies arrived, the release said. Enbridge Energy spokeswoman Juli Kellner confirmed the incident.

According to the sheriff’s office, Davis was logging in the area when his John Deere feller-buncher broke through a frozen area on the edge of the swamp.

“The tracked machine then tipped over and became completely submerged in the water. The operator was unable to exit out of the machine’s door or window due to mud and ice. Another worker on scene used an excavator and was able to quickly dig around the machine, freeing the victim and then removed him out of the water,” the release said.

Davis was taken by snowmobile to an awaiting ambulance near Big LaSalle Lake. The ambulance then took Davis to a clearing where a helicopter could land, and he was then flown to the Fargo, N.D., to receive treatment for possible hypothermia.

On Monday, Kellner said the worker was treated and released.

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