False alarm prompts major search for tuber
By Jay Braman Jr.
A 911 call about a missing tuber brought dozens of rescuers and all their equipment to Phoenicia Sunday afternoon, but all the while the supposed victim had been high and dry and safe.
According to Town Tinker Tube rental owner Harry Jameson, the problem appears to have been that the 911 call was made almost an hour after a mishap in the Esopus Creek that caused one Town Tinker customer to lose his tube and hurt his hip, but otherwise he was okay.
“I don’t know what happened between the time the guy fell into the water and that call was made,” Jameson said on Monday. “But we have no choice but to take these things seriously.”
Part of the process, if no one is found during a search and rescue, Jameson must go through the day’s receipts and make sure that everyone who rented a tube and went in the water returned and was accounted for.
Because the tuber who hurt his hip had returned to the Town Tinker headquarters long before the 911 was made, no one made the connection between the two. It was only after Jameson accounted for everyone that it began to add up.
Lots of manpower
But before that, dive teams from as far away as the Town of Ulster had arrived and were busy combing the creek for the missing man. The Ulster County Sheriff’s Department had a dive team there too, and there were no less than four fire departments, plus state and Shandaken police. Ambulances were on the scene too, standing by.
It appears that the person who made the emergency call saw the tuber fall out of his tube and go in the water, but did not see that tuber make his way to the safety of the shoreline. Jameson would not identify the caller.