Vermont State Police add 2 airboats to their arsenal

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COLCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont State Police say two new airboats have improved their ability to respond quickly to emergencies.

"The advantage of this is that it can go on ice, snow, water-- any terrain it can drive on essentially," Vt. State Police Capt. Michael Manley said.

That means when responding to ice rescues, the state's scuba team won't be walking on unstable ice.

"It could be dangerous and they can fall through, as well," Manley said.

Reporter Ike Bendavid: Was there a need for this?
Capt. Michael Manley: I definitely see the need for this.

Manley says the idea came during an ice rescue a few years ago, working with New York State Police who had an airboat on the call.

"We ended up using their boat and it was a great asset," Manley said.

Each boat cost $75,000. The Vermont State Police say these boats will not only help get to the scene faster but keep the troopers safe.

"With this boat, we can load equipment in here and drive to the site. It will be a lot more efficient," Manley said.

So how does it ride??

"It's kind of like a jet ski and a tiller steering boat. You need power to turn it," Vt. State Police Sgt. Trevor Carbo said.

Our Ike Bendavid caught a ride on Lake Champlain, and as Carbo told him, the conditions made for a bumpy ride.

"Solid ice with no snow cover definitely poses some challenges. You have got to think 10, 15 steps ahead," Carbo said.

But police hope their new boat creates more opportunities to help Vermonters when needed.