LOWELL (AP) — A Massachusetts State Police trooper hanging out of a helicopter as it skimmed the frigid Merrimack River was able to pluck a man from the water in a last-ditch rescue effort.

A state police spokesman tells the Boston Globe the helicopter was on scene in Lowell Wednesday night to provide illumination via spotlight. But when efforts to reach the man by boat were foiled by ice and rocks, the flight crew decided to attempt a rescue themselves.

Trooper John Hazelrigg maneuvered around the river’s surface, dipping the helicopter’s skids in the icy water as Trooper Russ Phippen pulled the man aboard.

The man was flown to a hospital and is expected to survive.

Lowell police Lt. Donald Crawford described the rescue to the Lowell Sun as “truly heroic.”

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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