Exhaustion likely cause of near drowning

HANOVERTON – The state parks department has released information about the two swimmers who nearly drowned at Guilford Lake July 12.

The men, identified as 19-year-old Tyler Waugh of Wellsville, and Shawn Baker, 38, of Lisbon, were pulled from the lake by a relative and a local camper, and were not seriously injured.

Park Ranger Andrew Gatto said in his report to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) first responders had the men already on shore and were administering first aid when he arrived at the campgrounds on East Lake Road in Lisbon.

Waugh declined additional treatment and stayed with his camping party on site 25 while Baker was taken to the Salem hospital for exhaustion and released later that night.

Baker was pulled from the lake by a camper in a kayak and Waugh was rescued by Baker’s brother-in-law, Jason Roberts, who jumped into the water after seeing Baker in distress while he was attempting to reach Waugh.

Roberts’ wife Meghan said she and others at the campground initially thought Waugh was joking when he began calling for help from the lake, and she was not amused.

The Roberts family of East Liverpool was vacationing at the lake around the same time last year when a man drowned in the lake, she said.

The body of Edward Krauss, 91, of state Route 45, Lisbon, was found shortly after the Fourth of July holiday in 2013.

“I think everyone thought he was joking,” Mrs. Roberts said of Waugh’s cries for help. They realized it was not a joke when his calls became more frantic.

Baker then jumped into the lake to try to pull Waugh from the water, but as he got closer, he too began having difficulty staying afloat, she said.

At that point her husband Jason got into the lake to help.

“My husband got to him first and tried to bring him in,” she said of Waugh.

The Roberts’ account of the accident was verified through Gatto’s report, which said that Waugh told him he had been swimming in the lake near the campsite for about 20 minutes and was about 50 yards from shore when he became exhausted and had trouble staying afloat.

Baker also told Gatto he tried to help but couldn’t stay afloat. The man in the kayak who pulled him to shore was never identified.

Baker’s wife Angie posted this on her Facebook page after the accident: “To whoever he is, thank you for saving my husband.”

She also said on the page that her husband was conscious the entire time, despite initial reports. She and Mrs. Roberts both said Waugh and his friends had been swimming in an area of the lake where “no swimming” signs were posted.

Flotation devices were not used by any of the swimmers and alcohol or drugs were not a factor, according to Gatto’s report.

He arrived on scene around 10 p.m. and was met by the county sheriff’s office, highway patrol, Hanover Township firefighters and KLG ambulance personnel.