Caught on camera: New Jersey state troopers rescue man suffering from hypothermia
SANDYSTON, N.J. -- A heroic rescue by state troopers in New Jersey was caught on camera.
They tracked down and saved a man in the mountains of Stokes State Forest. He had been missing for 24 hours and was suffering from hypothermia.
Chaotic body cam footage shows the moment the troopers found the missing man in frigid temperatures, nearly dead.
The victim, Tom McHugh, was reported missing by his daughter on Dec. 17, 24 hours after he went for a ride on his UTV, or side-by-side, in the rural Sussex County forest. As night fell, the search began.
"We got a picture of the tire tracks and began searching for tire tracks matching that in nearby trails," Trooper Robert Hoffman said.
Troopers found the vehicle wrecked in the woods, but no driver.
As cold as it was that night, McHugh was actually lucky that there was snow on the ground. Those troopers were able to track his footprints through the snow and track him down.
They found McHugh half a mile away from the UTV, unconscious. His body temperature was dangerously low.
One of the troopers, James Thonus, is a Marine veteran.
"That's what they teach us to do: life-saving skills in cold conditions. Strip down, get on top of him, give him sternum rubs, body heat to body heat, whatever you can do to," he said.
They covered him with jackets and took turns laying on top of him. The victim's breathing improved, but they still had to get him out of the woods.
It was a slog. A team of eight people lugged the 6-foot-2, 200-plus-pound man half a mile through mud and snow to the rescue vehicle.
CBS2's Nick Caloway met seven of the troopers involved in the rescue. All say they relied on their training; none would consider themselves heroes.
McHugh's daughter Melissa disagrees.
"Because they found him so fast. They did what they had to. But they went above and beyond," she said.
Her father made a full recovery.
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