By Shereen Siewert

The driver of an SUV that landed on its side near open water on the Wisconsin River Monday morning was rescued by Merrill firefighters, according to a news release.

Merrill Fire Battalion Chief Scott Krause said dispatchers took a call just after 8:30 a.m. from the driver, who was trapped in the vehicle. The crash happened around the 2000 block of West Main Street in Merrill.

Dispatchers kept the driver calm, advising him not to move around in the vehicle, while emergency responders worked to free him. Initially, firefighters secured the SUV with a winch from a squad and pulled the vehicle closer to shore.

When the vehicle was secured, firefighters donned cold water suits to enter the water and cut the windshield out to gain access to the driver, who was pulled from the vehicle and into a nearby ambulance.

The patient was transported by Merrill Fire and EMS to a local hospital for treatment. No other passengers were inside the vehicle

“While we train for water rescues, the driver was lucky that the vehicle didn’t go into the water,” Krause said.

Merrill Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff also responded to the scene. Rod’s Towing was called and removed the vehicle from the ice.

Photos courtesy of the Merrill Fire Department