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Published: Tuesday, 6/15/2010

Swimmer, 20, dies after struggle in Maumee River

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo Fire Department rescuers help an unidentified teen who swam to a nearby island after Craig A. Seymour disappeared in the river. Toledo Fire Department rescuers help an unidentified teen who swam to a nearby island after Craig A. Seymour disappeared in the river.
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A 20-year-old man who was rescued from the Maumee River Monday afternoon after he disappeared underwater while swimming with friends near Walbridge Park died last night in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

Craig A. Seymour and four friends were swimming about 25 to 30 feet from the boat launch at the South Toledo park when he began to struggle, said Battalion Chief Bob Krause of the Toledo Fire Department.

Three members of the group swam back to the launch ramp and called 911 at about 2:45 p.m. The fourth member swam to a nearby island and was later picked up by fire department rescuers who commandeered a private boat that was passing by, Chief Krause said.

Dozens of onlookers gathered on a hill above the edge of Walbridge Park as divers with the fire department's water rescue unit searched the placid brown water.

A police officer stands by as friends of Craig A. Seymour await word during the rescue effort. A police officer stands by as friends of Craig A. Seymour await word during the rescue effort.
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At 3:20 p.m., after about 30 minutes under water, an unconscious Mr. Seymour was brought to the surface and rushed by rescue workers to a waiting ambulance and taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

Police said hospital staff were able to restore a heartbeat temporarily; however, Mr. Seymour, of 1748 Arlington Ave., was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m.

Rescue diver Ken Brown found Mr. Seymour about 20 to 25 feet offshore, in about 10 to 12 feet of water, Chief Krause said.

"It's a tragic accident," Chief Krause said. "They were out in the water and they were ill prepared," the battalion chief said.

After pacing anxiously on the pier awaiting signs of Mr. Seymour, several of the young man's friends were in tears as his body was brought to the surface.

Up on the hill, members of the crowd shouted, "They got him. They got him."

Sheryl Marshall, the mother of one of Mr. Seymour's close friends, Stephanie Marshall, stood beside her daughter as the events unfolded. She described him as a hard-working young man who was diligently saving money to afford his own car and apartment.

"He was very respectful, and that's kind of unusual for some of the kids these days," said the elder Ms. Marshall.

His friends said Mr. Seymour, who worked at an Applebee's restaurant, would have turned 21 on Saturday.

The afternoon's events triggered bad memories for South Toledoan Billy Harvey, Jr., 46, who was among those watching from behind a dilapidated metal railing above the park's edge.

"I lost three friends in this river myself years ago doing the same thing," Mr. Harvey recalled.

"I've swam this river myself. If you don't respect it, it will swallow you."

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.



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