Four people were treated at hospitals after a water rescue at the Slumber Valley Campground near Meshoppen in north central Pennsylvania that had a happy ending on Saturday, according to the Tunkhannock New Age Examiner.
Rescue units were called to the campground about 12:30 p.m. after two people were trapped in an air pocket underneath a waterfall in Meshoppen Creek, according to Mike Markovitz, dive team captain.
He said a 23-year-old man and a boy, around 11, were riding an air mattress down the creek and over the waterfall. On their last trip over they apparently got tossed off, and the current was such that they got sucked back under the falls, Markovitz said. He added that a third person got involved and his life was in danger but he was able to free himself.
Meshoppen Fire Company Chief Bob Carney had been at the campground and was just leaving when he heard a plea for help. He said that the scene was pretty intense and very traumatic as members of the Meshoppen Fire Co. and Tunkhannock Community Ambulance Dive Team and other rescue units dive team worked together to free those trapped. Both men identified three individuals – Victor Caines, Scott Hayward and Michael Bach – who put their lives on the line as they methodically went about the rescue Saturday afternoon.
Caines, 36, of Meshoppen, passed the harness down through the falls to the older swimmer and worked the end of the ropes the whole time.
Hayward, 32, of Meshoppen, was able to go in and get the younger victim and bring him out.
Bach, 35, of Tunkhannock, made the first attempt to get the older swimmer out and also worked the ropes.
The three agreed that their emergency training in swiftwater rescue was invaluable, and Hayward noted that he and Caines had done some training in that section of the Meshoppen Creek.
Bach said that without ropes the two campers would have faced an impossible task trying to free themselves because the waters were so swift as a result of recent rains.
Names of the two people rescued and two others who were taken to local hospitals were not available.