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2 drown in Valley lakes over weekend; boy rescued

Published: Mon, July 9, 2012 @ 12:05 a.m.




A 26-year-old man drowned Saturday afternoon in Berlin Lake near the Mill Creek Recreation Area, and his 5-year-old nephew was rescued just as he was about to go under.

The Mahoning County Coroner’s office confirmed Sunday night that the

victim died but would not release his name or residence pending notification of relatives and completion of an investigation by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s


The drowning was the second in the Mahoning Valley over the weekend. Police using boats recovered the body of a 21-year-old Amish man in Mosquito Lake on Saturday after he jumped in the water from a boat to cool off.

Men who were fishing from a boat saw the man, Eli Miller Jr. of Middlefield, enter the water, and he did not surface, said Capt. Ed Hukary of the Warren Fire Department.

The Berlin Lake victim was found in about 7 feet of water

between 20 and 30 feet from shore. The victim and child were among a group of people swimming from shore to a sandbar 20 to 30 feet from shore, officials said.

An eyewitness to the drowning, the 13-year-old daughter of Tom and Kelly Rosato of Mogadore, who were camping at Mill Creek, said the victim was swimming with the boy on his back between shore and a sandbar when he appeared to push the boy up and then went under the water.

She quickly alerted her father, and he and several other men

began diving, trying to find the victim. Rosato said a friend

rescued the 5-year-old.

He said they recruited a boater to use his fish-finder, and the victim was found. “A friend of mine and an off-duty policeman couldn’t get him off the bottom and then a diver came and tied a rope to him, recovered him and took him to a helicopter, which transported him to St. Elizabeth Health Center.

Rosato said he could not understand what appeared to him as inactivity by what he believed were water rescue personnel on shore who didn’t come into the water and help look for the victim.

“I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble. I just want to make sure there is a quick response out there if something happens again. I’m sure they are great guys and brave and would go into a burning building to rescue someone. Maybe it’s the training,” Rosato said.

In fact, it was the training.

Members of the Portage County Water Rescue Team were following protocol, said Melissa Allison, a member of the water rescue team and an emergency medical technician with the Deerfield Township Fire Department, which has jurisdiction for Berlin Lake.

David Brown, commander of the water rescue team, said he was not on the scene but said from what he heard on the radio the team was interviewing witnesses to get the story and find a reasonable place to look for the victim.

“Some people might think doing nothing, but we take time to save time,” he said.

Brown said he doesn’t know what first responders did.

“We have divers from all across Portage County and it can seem like a long time to get to there,” said Allison who is an EMT and ground support n, not a diver.

“Swimming without equipment was definitely above and beyond the call of duty. They definitely took some risks,” he said of the men who tried to find the body.

“We are trained not to free dive without the proper training and equipment. If there are a lot of free divers ... if I get caught on something, or exhausted, or have a medical problem ... it just worsens the problem,” Allison said.

“There are sometimes people who think you don’t move fast enough. We have to do it the right way, the safe way. It may seem in their eyes we’re not doing something. They can’t distinguish me from a firefighter or a diver. Certain rescue team members are divers, some shore support. It’s hard for people to understand,” she said.


1Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I can understand it seems like it takes a long time when your waiting for rescue.

However when a bunch of folks(free divers) from shore rescued the 5 year old that tells me what they did worked. There are always risks involved if you aren't willing to accept the risks then you are not suited to the job.

They should have divers at the scene and those who get the logistics and story while in route to the area.Once they get there they can have some people taking quick info while the others (divers ) are getting into the water and getting fed info . Time is precious.

I am noticing hotels who have swim at your own risk signs up and no life guard on duty. People capable and trained should be on the scene saving money isn't worth someone's life.

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2plavkak(2 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I am the mother of the little boy that was saved. The only people interested in saving my five year old and my best friend was civilians. The dive team, sheirff and the other "officials" never once got wet. The 26yo that lost his life was a wonderful man with a huge heart. His family is in my prayers and berlin should be shut down if they are unable to secure the safety of the public that this lake is open too. and i agree that life guards and the so called dive teams that never went into the water should relearn thier job is to save lives

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3vinglass(295 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I don't get why the dive team was walking around getting information. I think they should have been in the water trying to save lives first. Thank God that there were bystanders that were not afraid to go in the water and save the child. To hell with protocol and guidelines when there is a life at stake..

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4da7721(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

To the comment above mine and to Melissa Allison"EMT". I am the boat that was on site with the depth sounder that Mr. Rosato yelled to for help. After reading this story I can feel my blood pressure begin to boil. A friend of mine and I were meeting an of duty sheriff and his family for an afternoon of fun on the lake when we noticed commotion from the are where this poor man drown. After we figured out what was going on we started searching. We were in the water for more than an hour and NEVER saw one rescue diver in the water or on shore. The men and women who helped search for this ma should be commended not chastised as " FREE DIVERS" The "free divers found him. And so you know a lot of them were off duty men in uniform. How dare you say you were trying to be safe, even after this man was in life flight (over an hour) your divers were nowhere to be found. Last year a van sank at the same lake and the divers were there in 20 minutes. Whats wrong with this picture? And to you commander David Brown you say " doesn’t know what first responders did." well maybe if you were on seen like the off duty men and women were and the on duty sheriff at the campground ad the sheriff patrol boat you would have known. We saw something on the depth sounder within 5 minutes and that's were this man was found. it may have taken us an hour to find him but if we waited for your derelicts to show up, this poor man would have been in the water for more than 2 hours. SHAME ON YOU AND MISS Allison. yes we took risks but we found him. And no thanks to the Portage County Water Rescue Team

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5vinglass(295 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

da7721, congratulations to you and your comrades for a job well done. Thank God you and your friends were there to take quick action, and not worry about following the guidelines..Again, thank you for your courage and initiative.

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6lumper(300 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"we take time to save time " really means "all that money spent on training is bull&^**#$, because when stuff happens, we freeze "

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7learnthefactsfirst(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

these comments are ridiculous, if you didn't need the fire departments or water rescue team because your all mighty off duty cops saved them then why call 911? yes it is a shame that this wonderful man lost his life, and it seems as all the "Bystanders" have something to say negative to say about VOLUNTEER services where no one HAD to show up, NO ONE THERE WAS GETTING PAID!!! VOLUNTEER Departments DO NOT GET PAID FOR TRAINING, Its done on their OWN TIME and OWN FREE WILL, if you don't like what is provided i suggest not to use that lake anymore.

On a positive note, prayers go out to the family, friends and loved ones of all involved, and thank you to all agencies involved in the rescue. and may god be with all of you negative Nancys.

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8sep0901(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

to the comments stating "To hell with protocol...", there is a reason a certain protocol is instilled into EVERY Fire/EMS service and that reason is to not only ensure an emergency situation is handled efficiently but also to ensure the safety of the life savers and the bystanders. What happens if they all say "to hell with protocol..." and something else goes wrong? it would cause more chaos, waste more time, and could even cause another drowning. And if that were to happen then you all would be complaining about how they didn't follow their protocol and training. Protocol is instilled so that more problems don't occur while trying to assess the current problem. There isn't an option given about following protocol, they HAVE to.

As for the comment about the response time of emergency services. These men and women are VOLUNTEERS. they come directly from their own houses, away from their families in the middle of the night, on holidays, weekends, in bad weather at a moments notice. They do not get paid to sit at the station waiting for you to require their services. Until you've seen one them jump out of bed and run out the door at 3AM to respond to a call for help because they want to not because they have to, I suggest you keep your ignorance to yourself.

I hope you all decide to educate yourselves a little more about what really goes on during an emergency scene before you go around bad-mouthing the people who actually go out an try to make a difference in the world.

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9rcg0729(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I was one of the off duty officers that helped searched for the victim and i to was very disappointed in how fire department did not have the proper equipment with them if they are responding to a drowning! Another thing, i was also informed to help get info off the victims friend, when i was advised to stay away from the friend by a volunteer out of jurisdiction fireman. Iam not trying to get in aq pissing match with fireman but i do believe they told the media false information on who recovered the body and and who helped. I also feel Berlin fire department should react allittle faste than they did because i was in the water for thirty minutes before their boats arrived. when they did they strated barking orders out to everyone to get out of the way when we had already located the body.

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10PCWRT1(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Let me start by saying I understand the frustration, anger and sense of helplessness that I read in the comments, but I believe the quotes used in the article presented a false opinion of our team, the Portage County Water Rescue Team (PCWRT). Allow me the opportunity to be clear on a few of these issues.
1.The site of this drowning was in Mahoning Co. jurisdiction. As per protocol the Berlin FD and Mahoning Co. Sheriff’s Office Dive Team get dispatched first. Then a mutual aid request is sent to the Deerfield FD who in turns activates the PCWRT. This is an agreement that was created after two drownings in the same general location a few years ago, with the understanding that the first arriving dive team would start operations. Even with this proactive response the Berlin Reservoir area is a remote location for both of our teams. On Saturday PCWRT divers had just arrived on the scene when Corey was found and placed into the MCSO boat. These divers were from Ravenna City and Rootstown . PCWRT units from Suffield, Kent, Mantua, Streetsboro and Aurora were still en-route, responding as quick as possible.
2.The PCWRT has worked with and trained with the Berlin FD and the Deerfield FD to help set up for the dive teams arrival. Their primary jobs are to interview witnesses and to identify a credible “last seen point”. So that when divers arrive we can go right to work and it also gives us the best chance of finding the drowning victim more quickly. We understand that the perception of this activity looks like a lack of activity, but we have learned from past experience that “taking this time, does save time once the divers are in the water”.
3.To those free diving to locate Corey, I must tip my hat. Your efforts were heroic, especially since many of you did not personally know Corey. You all are great examples of the GOOD IN PEOPLE. And to think that you took our words as some sort of criticism I must humbly APOLOGIZE. Our comments were in response to a question if any of our members did the same. And they did, a Lieutenant with DFD was one of two people who finally pulled Corey to the surface then to the boat. He is a volunteer and PCWRT team member (not a diver) who was wearing civilian cloths. Each person who went into the water knew the risk and made a decision they could only make, In doing so, no one should judge that decision.
As in any conflict we must be open to others opinions while voicing your own. In doing so we try not to degrade or name call others we may be at odds with. As the Team Commander of the PCWRT I cannot sit idly by as my member’s professionalism is questioned or when they are referred to as “derelicts”. We are a team of caring people who drop anything we are doing to help anyone in trouble. To portray anything different is plain wrong. If anyone has any further questions about the PCWRT or our operations please feel free to e-mail us at pcwrt1@gmail.com
Sincerely, David Moore (not Brown)

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11plavkak(2 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

i am so very sorry that i can not remember anyone's name but i am so glad that i am not the only one who noticed it was b.s. that nobody from the rescue team got in the water. i later found out that his mother and father was told in face they were a recovery team so does that mean your job was to stand around until he no longer had to be saved. this horrible tragedy has broke the hearts of so many. my son Glenn wants his best buddy back. my other son who has already been dealing with post tramactic stress disorder was allowed to watch everything from cory suffering in the water to seeing his best friend being pulled up. i was taken from the water right away to sit in a truck. So my goal is to petition the courts and the law to have the funding and make a law that you all must have the proper eqiupment. i thank you again to the gentlemen that jumped and grabbed my son. i will always be indebted to you and cory for glennys life

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