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DNR officer saves Hudsonville man after fall in the woods

DNR officer Josiah Killingbeck was on patrol when he heard about the distress call from Lake County Dispatch personnel.

MASON COUNTY, Mich — A Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer saved an elderly Hudsonville man after he fell in the woods, breaking his back in Mason County Tuesday.

Dispatchers in Lake County received a call around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday from a man who said he had fallen and broken his back. The call dropped before dispatchers were able to trace the call to the mans location. 

DNR officer Josiah Killingbeck was on patrol when he heard about the distress call from Lake County Dispatch personnel. Consulting other officers, Killingbeck learned the phone number belonged to a 75-year-old man from Hudsonville. 

The man’s son told police his dad had gone to the Whiskey Creek area, southeast of Ludington. The man's truck was expected to be parked alongside the road.

Killingbeck was able to locate the red GMC pickup truck around 9:39 p.m., however the GPS system and Killingbeck's cellphone did not have reception in the remote area.

“I had Report All Poaching dispatch take the GPS coordinates from my radio and give them to Mason Dispatch to assist in getting other resources into the area,” Killingbeck said. 

Killingbeck began scanning the area and calling out for the man. He heard nothing until he got about 50 yards from him, when he heard the man calling back.

Killingbeck was able to locate the man just before 10 p.m.

The man told Killingbeck he was about 30 feet off the ground attempting to get a tree stand out of a tree when he fell. 

At 11:30 p.m., the man was carried out of the woods and airlifted to a trauma center for treatment of his injuries. 

As we head into the fall hunting season, the DNR is reminding hunters to stay safe in the woods. Check out some helpful safety information.

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