Man rescued from rain-swollen river


A man trapped on an island by floodwater in the Great Miami River next to Miami River Road in Shelby County just north of Miami County is pulled from the island by rope. According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, the man rescued from the river is Verlin Powers, 57, of the Sidney area. He told rescuers he had been stranded on an island in the river since Sunday. Powers was transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital to be evaluated. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Water briefly goes over the heads of a man and his rescuers Friday in the Great Miami River, south of Sidney. The man, identified as Verlin Powers, 57, of the Sidney area, told rescuers he had been stranded on an island in the river since Sunday. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — Crews worked Friday morning to save a homeless man stuck on an island in the middle of the Great Miami River. Verlin Powers, 57, had been camping on the island since Saturday.

According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Powers said on Sunday the water in the river began rising too quickly for him to evacuate and he had been stranded there without food or water since.

Harold Stover, who owns land in the area and was checking his fields, called 911 after he heard someone yelling for help.

The Lockington Fire Department, Sidney Department of Fire & Emergency Services, and its water rescue unit, as well as Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies, Houston EMS and the Shelby County Highway Department responded to the 500 block of Miami River Road right near the Shelby County/Miami County line at 9:38 a.m.

After Powers was successfully rescued, the rescue boat sustained engine failure and became disabled. Two rescue firefighters and the victim floated downstream but were able to eventually tie-up and stop their descent down river. A second rescue boat was launched downstream while a throw line was secured to the bank and all three people were able to reach dry land safely.

Powers was transported to Wilson Memorial Hospital to be evaluated.

Shelby County remained gray Friday as more and more rain poured from the sky.

As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, the river height was 10.26 feet. The city of Sidney’s Flood Action Plan was initiated at noon on Wednesday. The river crested at 12.5 feet on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

A copy of the Flood Action Plan, along with the latest river level, is available on the city of Sidney’s website, www.sidneyoh.com.

The National Weather Service has a flood warning in effect for Shelby and surrounding counties until 7 a.m. Saturday. A flood warning has been in effect in the area since Wednesday morning.

There is a 90 percent chance of rain Saturday, a 60 percent chance on Sunday, and the chance for Monday is now up to 50 percent, according to the National Weather Service.