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Water rescues simulated on Lake Williams

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser

People near Lake Williams in Springfield Township got to see and hear something a little bit different Saturday afternoon.

Three very loud helicopters hovered over the lake and pulled people out of the water for nearly an hour and a half.

Not to worry though — it was only training.

Officials from the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and first-responders from local fire departments took over the boat launch area of the lake to train on the water.

Training: From noon to 1:30 p.m., about 10 boats had gone out on the water assisting the rescue training. Overhead, four helicopters were on hand.

Two Blackhawks and one Chinook were seen flying above the water, with rescuers rappelling down and pulling other rescuers, acting as victims, to safety. The boats on the water were assisting with the helicopter rescues.

A fourth helicopter, a Lakota, was above the action, streaming live video of the training to officials below.

State Rep. Kristen Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, was watching the training.

"This is something you can't see every day," she said.

Phillips-Hill said many of the people on the water helping with the rescue were also part of local fire departments.

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Lt. Colonel Larry Furlong said typically these types of training exercises are conducted twice a year throughout the state.

This year was the first time it was done in York County, which he said was done to get more local departments involved.

It also was the first time they had used a Chinook for water training. Furlong said they will continue to work with the helicopter during training sessions before they take it out on a real rescue assignment.

He estimated that about 50 people assisted in the training.

Fire departments from Jacobus, York Township, Loganville, Dallastown, Glen Rock and Lake Clarke Rescue were on hand.

A rescue official safely lifts a person out of the water into the Boeing CH-47 Chinook during a water rescue training session Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Lake Williams, in Springfield Township. Amanda J. Cain photo
A rescue official searches for a victim while being repelled from a Boeing CH-47 Chinook during a water rescue training session Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Lake Williams, in Springfield Township. Amanda J. Cain photo
A rescue official lifts a person out of the water during a water rescue training session Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at Lake Williams, in Springfield Township. Amanda J. Cain photo

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.