November 1, 2014

Elyria
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2 men ‘rescued’ from the Black River after confusion brings emergency squads

Matthew Addington and Tom Tanner fill out statements for the Lorain County Metro Parks rangers on Wednesday. Addington and Tanner were riding in inner tubes on Wednesday, wearing life vests, on the Black River and said someone mistakenly told authorities they were in danger. The rescue took place in Carlisle Township near the north intersection of Robson and Grafton roads. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Matthew Addington and Tom Tanner fill out statements for the Lorain County Metro Parks rangers on Wednesday. Addington and Tanner were riding in inner tubes on Wednesday, wearing life vests, on the Black River and said someone mistakenly told authorities they were in danger. The rescue took place in Carlisle Township near the north intersection of Robson and Grafton roads. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

CARLISLE TWP. — Two men riding inner tubes in the Black River were rescued reluctantly on Robson Road about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.

“We were fine,” Tom Tanner told firefighters seconds after he and Matthew Addington came ashore in an Elyria Fire Department Zodiac rescue boat. “For all of this to go down was a huge waste of resources and was unnecessary.”

Addington and Tanner, both wearing life jackets, said they entered the river from a bridge on Parsons Road in Lorain County Metro Parks’ Indian Hollow Reservation about 6 p.m. Addington, 24, and Tanner, 25, said they’ve been tubing on the river for years.

“It’s fun,” Tanner said. “These are not like Class IV rapids. This is not dangerous.”

However, about 6:45 p.m., authorities said they received a 911 call that two young men tubing on the river were shouting for help. Besides Elyria, the Carlisle Township and Wellington fire departments responded as well as the Lorain County Swift Water Rescue Team.

Water rescue personnel go upstream in the Black River searching for two men who were believed to be in danger. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Water rescue personnel go upstream in the Black River searching for two men who were believed to be in danger. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Firefighters and a small crowd gathered at the bridge at Grafton and Robson roads looking for Addington and Tanner, who were northbound on the river. “If they come down here, we want to be able to snatch them,” Elyria fire Lt. Rick Thrasher told firefighters.

The crowd included Tanner’s parents, Cindy and Gene Tanner, who said they weren’t worried.

“How many times have they been on this river?” Gene Tanner asked his wife. “They live in this river,” she said.

At 8:05 p.m., firefighter Jim Droke and Lt. David Knowlton of the Elyria Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team departed south looking for Addington and Tanner, and returned with them 10 minutes later.

“We have to assume the worst and react to it as best we can,” Carlisle Township Fire Chief Kevin Dembiec said after the rescue.

Because the rescue involved a misunderstanding, Jim Ziemnik, Lorain County Metro Parks director, said Addington and Tanner won’t face any charges. “No harm, no foul,” he said.

Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.


  • luvmytoaster

    Wow….how embarrassing for the person who called it in! Did they appear to be in danger or just whooping it up and having a great time, what a waste of resources.

    • stargazer2012

      The caller should not be embarrassed! He did the right thing! You can never be too sure or too safe!

      • luvmytoaster

        “Because the rescue involved a misunderstanding, Jim Ziemnik, Lorain County Metro Parks director, said Addington and Tanner won’t face any charges. “No harm, no foul,” he said.”

        Did the men appear to be in distress? Were they overturned from their inner tubes, flailing their arms, disappearing beneath the water…..it doesn’t sound like it, in fact they were wearing life jackets.

      • Simon Jester

        That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read here in a good long while.

        You can’t bubble wrap the world, and more to the point, it isn’t your F****ing job.

  • Spec440

    Why wouldn’t they just pull up in the boat, ask them if they were ok, and let them go on their way? Just because someone called doesn’t mean they have to be forced off the river, unless being on the river is illegal. I’m also curious as to what the “charges” would be if they had actually required rescuing.

    • Brian_Reinhardt

      That would have been the “prudent” thing to do but you know how the gub’ment is…

      Also the comment regarding no charges being filed like they should be “grateful” is absurd.

  • Mark B

    Maybe the person who called it in should be charged for making a false report

  • Phil Blank

    All the idiots want to play hero today, so expect more to follow.

  • Chan

    I hope this wasn’t a prank.

  • Summer Smart

    Wellington, Carlisle and Elyria all involved?? How much of tax payer dollars were wasted on this one? Sounds like a violation of these guys rights to me. If they “live in this river” they have most likely been seen before. What makes this time any different? Must be the “god” complex shining through but this time it made them look stupid for over reacting.

    • Summer Smart

      lets see if they try to get more money in their levies and we can remind them of this. Just another thought, it seems that when something like this comes up, like the incident on Robson Road, all the volunteers are on staff. How many of the staff show up on average? Or are they all just “certified ambulance chasers?”

  • John Demirjian

    A question?? How is it that it is a criminal offense to swim in the river in Cascade Park?

  • brewmaster

    The only additional costs would have been if there was overtime involved and some money for fuel. If not it is just like a training exercise for those involved.

  • Jamie Smith

    Glad they are safe and never in danger. I’m not sure how someone would make the mistake of saying they were shouting for ‘HELP’….No one should be embarrassed about any part of this story. better safe then sorry.

  • Bill Brown

    Jamie Smith…kudos for your comment…better safe than sorry. Phil Blank, can you be more ignorant? Bottom line, someone felt these two fellas were in danger and did the right thing by calling 911. But honestly, was the river “safe” for such an activity? The two “experienced” river-goers were on Walmart-like, kiddie inner tubes, with similar cheap life jackets. They must have believed the river was dangerous enough to wear a life jacket. Sounds like questionable judgement on their part.

    • Joe Smith

      Where does it say they were on kiddie type inner tubes and had cheap life jackets?
      Ignorant is jumping to those conclusions, these people were not in danger and would have likely told the police they were fine when they showed up in the first place but resources were wasted “saving” them anyway.

      • Bill Brown

        Joe…trust me, I know. Why would I call someone ignorant, then make a false statement or assumption???? Again, trust me.

  • Alan Wharton

    Lorain County People need to learn to mind their business. Just because it sucks out there doesn’t mean you need to find entertainment drumming up something out of nothing. nothing much can be done about this, as it seems the predisposition tonosiness, along with intellectual theft, is either the social norm, or is genetically inherited. Memes or Genes.

  • Joe Smith

    I am surprised they didn’t send out the SWAT team and armored vehicles for this.