PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- Two Maryland men stranded on a floating dock on a rain-swollen stretch of the Ohio River near Parkersburg were rescued Tuesday by Division of Natural Resources police officers.
The incident occurred near the tip of Blennerhassett Island, after the two men were sighted clinging to a runaway dock section in the debris-strewn river. After the Parkersburg 911 center alerted the DNR's Parkersburg district office, Capt. David Trader and Sgt. Chris McKnight launched a patrol boat and headed toward the area.
"At first we didn't see anyone on the dock," said Trader, "but upon closer inspection, we found two males huddled, wet and shivering, beneath a camouflaged tarp." At about the same time, the two DNR officers saw a barge approaching the dock from the south.
After giving the two men life jackets, the DNR officers told them to tie their floating dock section to the patrol boat. When it became apparent that the men were too fatigued to do that, McKnight jumped to the dock and provided the needed assistance. The dock carrying the men was towed to Civitan Park in Belpre, Ohio.According to a DNR spokesman, the officers learned that the two men, Tyler Jennings, 22, and Quinn Porter, 21, had removed the dock from a bank of the Little Kanawha River upstream of Parkersburg, and had planned to float it down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. They were cited for not having life jackets and possessing fishing gear without a fishing license and then released.