CLEVELAND – Teens have sneaked into Mills Creek Falls in Cleveland for years despite the fact that it's off limits to swimming. On Wednesday, a 17-year-old boy paid the ultimate price, drowning in the treacherous waters at the base of the falls, Action News' Paul Orlousky reported.
Metroparks bought Mills Creek Falls less than a year ago with plans to make observation decks so that people could enjoy the beauty of the falls. The tucked away spot is obviously best designed to look at and not to swim in.
Construction worker Bobby Wallace was the first person the victim's panicked friends ran to.
"He came down and he asked me if I could swim," Wallace said. "No sooner did he ask me before I knew what they wanted."
The friends said that the victim kept putting his hand over his nose and going down into the water. One time, however, they said that he didn't come back up.
Three young people trying to stay cool on a hot day proved to be a prescription for death in an area off limits to swimming. To get to that spot, the friends had to climb down a steep embankment. One of the three never got out.
Mills Creek Falls are tucked away deep in an industrial area. Only the locals know that they're here. Ironically, Wednesday's trouble came just as a construction project got underway to give the public better access to the falls.
The project is to encourage people to enjoy the view, not to get into the dangerous waters. Workers making the conversion, including Dan Schwaberow, were the first people to attempt a rescue.
"A guy I was working with says, 'I think there's a kid drowning down there. Call 911,'" Schwaberow said. "I went and called, and Bobby (Wallace) went down below."