EAST LIVERPOOL - Details were few on Saturday night surrounding a drowning incident in the Ohio River near the city's Broadway Wharf earlier in the evening. The condition and identity of the male victim have not been released by authorities, pending notification of all family members.
The call of a drowning at the wharf came in at 6:28 p.m., with East Liverpool police and fire units dispatched, as well as Lifeteam EMS at the scene. Since the majority of the river is West Virginia territory, Hancock County sheriff's deputies were present as well.
Chester and Newell volunteer fire departments both launched rescue boats to search the waters. In addition, a boat from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources happened to be in the area investigating an unrelated incident, and responded to the scene as well.
Rescue personnel from Chester and Newell volunteer fire departments drag the waters of the Ohio River near Broadway Wharf searching for a drowning victim early Saturday night. He was eventually located and taken by ambulance to East Liverpool City Hospital. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
According to Chief John Hissam of the Chester Volunteer Fire Department, the young male victim was apparently swimming in the river with his girlfriend close to the shore. "Somehow, he got into trouble, and down he went," Hissam said.
Chester and Newell rescue personnel performed visual searches of the water before dragging the river bottom in roughly 10-12 feet of water. After 20 minutes, the young man was located 60 yards west of the boat launch, approximately10 feet out from the shore.
The male was pulled from the water unconscious and unresponsive. Chester VFD rescue personnel immediately went to work performing CPR on the young man as they raced back towards the shore. He was loaded into the waiting ambulance and rushed to East Liverpool City Hospital.
At one point, a man who identified himself as the young man's father arrived in a frantic state, demanding to know who was in charge and why more wasn't being done to find his son. He later apologized to the first responders, saying he was panicked about his son's safety. "I made him. He's a part of me," the father said emotionally. He left immediately as the ambulance departed for the hospital.