Sleeping, drunk man results in river search

CONWAY — Emergency workers were tied up for hours Wednesday, as they searched for a man reportedly unconscious on a rock on the banks of the Deerfield River.

“It turned out to be an inebriated person sleeping on a rock on the riverside,” said Conway Fire Chief Robert Baker.

The man was part of a trio of people tubing down the river, Baker said. After another tuber saw the man and called it in around 4:30 p.m., the three apparently got back into their tubes and continued downriver, leaving Baker and his crew to wonder what became of the unconscious man on the rocks.

What wound up being a false alarm resulted in a two-hour search along the river. Firefighters from the Conway and Old Deerfield fire departments, as well as Deerfield and Baystate Health ambulance crews responded.

“It tied us up for quite a while,” said Baker.

Luckily, he said, no other serious incidents required their attention during the search.

Baker said the trio of tubers had been located during the search, but they were uncooperative. Though he was fairly certain that one of the three was the man they’d been looking for, the search continued.

“They ended up getting out of the river at the Stillwater Bridge,” said Baker.

There, they were questioned by police, and it was determined that they were the ones firefighters had spent hours looking for.

They were uninjured, and, after questioning, they were let go.

Baker said drunken tubers are a common problem on the river.

“They put in at Bardwell’s Ferry, with beer, float south to Stillwater, and party along the way.”

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