2 men rescued from river

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Two men are safe after a rescue Thursday from high water in Warren’s Packard Park.

Warren and Bazetta firefighters were called around 8:15 p.m. to save Eric Lowencamp of Leavittsburg and Herbert Holiday of Warren who clung to a tree after their craft began to sink in the flood waters near the Mahoning River.

More than 40 people watched from the hill behind Packard Music Hall as safety crews used a rescue boat, then the Trumbull County hovercraft to reach the men. A medical helicopter flew above the park to spotlight the rescue.

“I believe they were in the park sight-seeing and got a little too close to the river and got pulled in,” said Capt. Bill Monrean with the Warren Fire Department. “They’re very dangerous right now. We just like everybody to stay away from the water at this time until the rivers get back to normal.”

Holliday and Lowencamp said they had been patrolling the flooded neighborhoods in their boat and kayak when the currents took them out in the Mahoning River.

“The current got really strong. The river gets narrow and it picks up pace,” said Holliday. “We couldn’t get to the edge, got hung up. His kayak rolled over and he jumped out of it into a tree and I was hung up on the branches.”

Lowencamp had recently purchased a water proof cell phone and credits it with saving his life.

“The first thing I said I got a new water proof phone, and I just dialed 911,” said Lowencamp.

Excerpts from the 911 call:

Caller:  I’m stuck in a tree in Packard Park and my buddy’s stuck in his boat.

Dispatcher:  You’re stuck in a tree in Packard Park and your buddy’s stuck in a boat?

Caller:  Yeah, he’s in the flood and he’s taking on water.

The men are thankful for emergency crews that pulled them from the water. They said while the incident hasn’t scared them from traveling the water, they  have learned a valuable lesson.

“Not in flood waters and especially, even if we did go out in the neighborhoods, now where near to the river at all,” said Lowencamp.

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