YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Monday evening, two men happened to be close enough to the Mahoning River to hear someone crying for help — and were able to pull him from the water.
Youngstown’s Tom Sciubba had to drop off a family friend, Craig Caldrone, at the downtown bus station for a trip to California. He had a 6:30 bus to catch, so they were checking out the B&O train station to blow some time.
It was just before 6 when they heard yells coming from the Mahoning River.
“We just took a ride back here to see the old railroad station and went to turn around and leave, and that’s when we heard someone crying for help,” Sciubba said.
The cries were coming from the Mahoning River, which runs past the train station. The men had to climb over a fence and down an embankment to get to the water’s edge.
“That’s when I noticed the gentleman’s head and looked over the hill, and he was in the water up to his waist,” Sciubba said.
He said the man, later identified as Arturo Damato, had his arm inside a drain pipe, which was preventing him from floating down the river and drowning.
Caldrone wanted to jump into the river to get him, but Sciubba said no.
“We already had one guy in the water. Another guy in the water — it wasn’t a good idea.”
He had a better idea. Standing close to the water, Caldrone grabbed ahold of the man and Sciubba grabbed ahold of Caldrone.
“With Craig being a little younger and a little more fit than I am, I decided to try and stay at the top of the hill and he went down to assist him. A human chain — him first, and me holding onto his arm and trying to pull the guy up,” Sciubba said.
When the man was mostly out, Sciubba got a ladder and utility belt from his truck to help out, all while calling 911.
“The Youngstown Fire Department actually sent their cage down and got him onto that, and pulled him up the hill and got him to safety,” Sciubba said.
Caldrone, a Marine veteran from Rhode Island who served with Sciubba’s son in Afghanistan, still got to his bus on time.
“It happened so fast,” Sciubba said. “It seems like a lot, but it really happened so fast that, no, there was still time to spare — a couple minutes. I got him at the bus station before 6:30.”
It’s not known how Damato ended up in the river. Sciubba was told Damato was hypothermic but expected to be alright.