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17 February 2014

Deer rescuers credit HTC and Neoteric Hovercraft

Even if you’ve already seen the heartwarming viral video of the deer rescue in Minnesota, this raw footage is definitely worth watching. HTC grad James Kenison and his father Doug of MedCity Hovercraft use their Neoteric hovercraft – and their piloting expertise – to save the lives of three deer stranded for days on the ice of Albert Lea Lake. As one reporter wrote, “It’s a father/son rescue mission unlike anything you’ve ever seen”

Sometimes hovercraft are the only lifesaving tool that works – especially in climates like that of Minnesota – ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ The Minnesota DNA reports that since 1977 there have been 225 human ice fatalities in the state - and 57% of them resulted from taking a snowmobile, ATV or vehicle other than a hovercraft onto ice. Another journalist summed it up, “Boats and jet skis are pretty useless on ice and snowmobiles fall through ice if it won’t hold their weight … If you fall through ice, or get sucked into mud or quicksand, better hope someone locally has a hovercraft handy.”

The Kenisons credit Hovercraft Training Centers and Neoteric Hovercraft for the success of their rescue. “The training I received has been such a huge benefit," wrote James, “Each time I operate the craft some of my training comes into play to some degree and I continue to build on my skills as a Neoteric hovercraft pilot.” He added, “Our Neoteric craft performed really well. Its reverse thrusters gave us the ability to quickly maneuver on the slippery ice; without them, the rescue would have taken longer just to get the craft in the right position.

Getting to the heart of the matter, Doug told us, “It looked like one of the deer actually came closer to us. It just seemed like she knew we were there to help. It was our honor and privilege to help these wonderful animals.

James Kenison (center) and his father Doug (right) earned their pilot certification from
instructor Steve Stafford (left) at Hovercraft Training Centers.

Tell us in a comment: Have you ever witnessed an ice rescue? How does this compare?


  1. Thanks HTC the training and the Neoteric Hovercraft (reverse thruster system) on ice made this a safe an successful rescue. Having the right training and equipment is the most important thing.

  2. We at HTC and Neoteric absolutely concur ... and thank you, James, for giving us the opportunity to provide what you needed to save the lives of these deer.