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Wylie’s Hovercraft to the Rescue

It’s the most badass piece of safety equipment in North Texas.

Photo by Billy Surface

In April, a hitchhiker was picked up by five teenagers at a Dallas rest stop. A few minutes later, the teenagers pulled to the side of a bridge and—inexplicably—tossed the hitchhiker over the railing and into Lake Ray Hubbard. Stuck in the mud, the man managed to call 911 and waited for rescue.

That came in the form of the Wylie Fire-Rescue department’s hovercraft. Floating on a 9-inch thrust of air, the hovercraft whips up to speeds of 35 mph and is mostly used in swift-water rescue or urban flooding situations. Or hitchhiker-stuck-in-mud-because-he-was-thrown-off-a-bridge situations. Because it’s not a boat, the hovercraft requires extensive training; only four of Wylie’s 34 fire-rescue squad members have been trained. The cost isn’t especially prohibitive (about $35,000), but the training requirements cause most squads in North Texas to rely instead on Wylie’s team. “It’s not a Sea-Doo or Jet Ski. It’s complicated. It really is,” says Wylie Battalion Chief Brent Parker. “If we were just giving carnival rides, we could probably make a pretty penny.”

If this has piqued your interest in hovercraft (and how has it not?), you may be in luck. Neoteric Hovercraft, the company that sold Wylie its hovercraft, is selling used hovercraft for as low as $14,000.

Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
1649 Tippecanoe Street Terre Haute, Indiana USA 47807-2394
Telephone: 1-812-234-1120 / 1-800-285-3761 Fax: 877-640-8507

www.neoterichovercraft.com / www.rescuehovercraft.com
E-mail: hovermail@neoterichovercraft.com
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