July 31, 2014

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Worker rescues man trapped underwater by lawn mower

LEAVITTSBURG — A worker installing satellite TV service put down his tool belt and helped rescue a man who was trapped underwater by a lawn mower.

Ron Hacker, 68, was on his riding mower Monday when the vehicle toppled down a 2-foot embankment and fell into the Mahoning River, trapping him in waist-deep water.

Hacker, with the mower’s 42-inch deck on top of him, managed to lift his head from the water but struggled to free himself. The mower’s blades had automatically stopped once Hacker fell off the seat.

A neighbor heard the splash and called for Michael Oberlin, who was installing DirecTV service across the street, to help.

The two men jumped into the water and pulled Hacker out.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” Oberlin said. “I just helped somebody.”

Hacker said he suffered a few bumps on his head, some bruises and a bloody nose.

Oberlin stayed around to hook up a chain to the mower and pull it out of the river with a truck.

The mower, which Hacker had bought for $3,000 a few weeks ago, is a little soggy, Hacker said. Next time, he might opt to use a push mower while cutting grass near the embankment, he said.