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

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.

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.

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