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Man rescued off Green River after spending night naked on island

Mountain View Fire and Rescue crews wade over to the island where a man spent the night after he and his dog fell out of their raft.  - Courtesy photo
Mountain View Fire and Rescue crews wade over to the island where a man spent the night after he and his dog fell out of their raft.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Mountain View Fire and Rescue and the King County Sheriff’s Office plucked a shivering, 51-year-old man and his dog safely off an island in the Green River early Wednesday morning.

The unidentified man and his dog had been plying the river in a small, inflatable raft Tuesday evening when they fell into the water. Man and dog made it to a small island in the middle of the river where, wet and cold, the man stripped to avoid hypothermia. He then spent the night, naked, waiting for help.

Early Wednesday morning some construction workers heard the man yelling but could not get close enough to understand what he was saying. The workers asked a fisherman in waders to get closer to the man to learn if he needed help. When they heard what had happened, they called 911.

The King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Mountain View Fire and Rescue’s Swiftwater Rescue Team used an inflatable rescue board to reach the man and his dog. Within minutes the man was on his way to an area hospital, and his dog was in safe hands.

"We were told that the man left his house last night to take his dachshund mix, named Ozzy, on a walk but never returned home," said Tim Perciful, a spokesman for Mountainview Fire and Rescue. "His wife called police to report the 51-year-old man missing at 2 a.m., and Auburn police searched for the man near his house but were not able to find him."

Perciful offered a few pointers.

First off, he said, people should always wear life jackets whenever they are on the water.

"Be sure to communicate with someone whenever you are going to be near the water, so they know your location, contact information and when you expect to be home," Perciful said.

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