Updated 08/01/2012 08:32 PM
Rough water search once again highlights dangers of the Oswego break wall
Tuesday evening, Oswego's firefighters braved an intense thunderstorm in a water search for two people thought to have been swept off the city's break wall. They now believe the report was false, but the incident has city officials once again speaking out about the dangers of the structure. Our Candace Hopkins has more.
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OSWEGO, N.Y. -- "Strong winds, heavy rain. Reports were still coming in of people being on the break wall."
Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie describes the chaotic scene that unfolded Tuesday night as firefighters rushed their rescue boat towards the break wall during an intense thunderstorm, looking for two people thought to have fallen off.
"Sometimes we will have the waves or the river current, cold water. This was different in the fact that the winds were so high and the rains were so heavy. Usually you don't have people on or out near the water when the conditions are like that," said Chief McCrobie.
When the conditions are so rough, the last thing city officials want to do is send rescue crews into the water, risking injury or death. In this instance, the search lasted two hours before it was determined both people had made it off the wall.
"There's multiple worries as far as the rescuers and as well as those who were probably or possibly out there," said McCrobie.
And those worries are why Chief McCrobie advocated to close off access to the wall back in February after a college student nearly drowned in the same area. The city refused.
A sign outlines the potential dangers of walking on the break wall. It was placed at the entrance to the wall by city officials after the February incident in hopes of keeping people off of it, especially during bad weather. But the question is now, is it actually doing anything at all.
Mayor Gillen says probably not, but that doesn't mean he's willing to limit access at this time.
"Just because we outlaw it, suppose we do close it down, people are still gonna go out there," Gillen said.
Meaning at this point, all the city is willing to do is appeal for common sense to prevail.