Thursday, August 14, 2003

Three children rescued from Great Miami in very close call



By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN - If it weren't for a dead tree limb and some dedicated rescuers, two young boys and a girl whose raft deflated would probably have drowned in the Great Miami River on Wednesday night, an experienced fire captain said.

"In 25 years of doing this, I've only seen two successful rescues, including this one; the rest were recoveries," said Franklin Fire Capt. Stu Dixon. "These kids are extremely lucky. They have no clue of how lucky they are."

The children - ages 16, 13 and 11 - were pulled from the river in Middletown about a mile south of Franklin, Dixon said.

The children were identified as Chris McIntosh, 13, his sister, Melinda, 11, and their 16-year-old cousin, Charles Cornett, all from Middletown. They did not require medical attention.

"The current was too strong to swim or anything," Melinda McIntosh said after the rescue.

The children told police they had started off on Twin Creek, where they intended to swim, but their raft got pulled into the Great Miami River. They said a friend's mother who was fishing in the river saw them go by and called for help.

Clinging to dead tree

Franklin crews, which Middletown called for mutual aid around 6 p.m., found the children clinging to a dead tree limb after some debris punctured their raft and it deflated, Dixon said. "They were just fortunate there was something in the river for them to hold onto," he said.

The river's current was high and fast; conditions were so hazardous that even trained personnel had some difficulty reaching the boys, Dixon said.

Rescuers were able to retrieve all three children - but it took two trips on a boat, Dixon said.

The crews finished its work in about 90 minutes.

When the raft of the children deflated, "they got stuck in the current," Dixon said, "and they were in trouble because they didn't have life jackets on."

Channel 9 News contributed to this report. E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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