‘Circular Muskegon River’ Trip Goes Awry: Panicking Tubers Lead To Hilarious Reactions

A summer afternoon float down Michigan’s Muskegon River turned into a much bigger adventure than three women bargained for.

Embarking on their journey, the women, who were all in their 20s and all from Muskegon and Muskegon Heights, set out alone at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

They were rescued by fire officials around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Detroit News.

The women believed that the river flowed in a gigantic circle, and they would eventually be carried back to their starting point, according to Deputy Fire Cheif Bob Grabinski.

They were going on a conversation with someone where apparently there was a miscommunication, or perhaps they ran into a prankster.

“They went and bought some tubes and they went to the Maple Island Bridge, which is one of the access points to the river, a popular spot. They were misinformed: Somebody said (the river) makes a big loop and they’d come right back to their car.”

Grabinski said the person who offered the faulty advice was a stranger to the women. He added that nobody has come forward to claim credit. The women were completely unfamiliar with the river and had never been tubing.

Of the alleged “circular Muskegon River,” Grabinski said the trio had no problem with the whole concept.

“They thought it was great. They believed it.”

After floating the whole day and not finding their car, the women began to grow concerned. Finally, night fell.

“Right about dark they realized that that was not the case and so they got off the river onto the bank, screaming for help. It was an isolated area. Unless somebody else is coming down the river, nobody’s going to hear them.

Grabinski added that he could only imagine how frightened they were, as the group had no food and no shelter, and they were all wearing swimsuits. The women had neglected to bring cell phones with them, he said.

About noontime on Wednesday, a fisherman overheard the women yelling for help. First responders launched from the Holton-Duck Lake Road ramp, about a quarter mile upriver from the women’s campsite, Grabinski said. They arrived about a half hour after the fisherman dialed 911.

“They were ecstatic that we found them and they were in pretty good spirits. They have several scratches (from trying) to walk through some pricker-type bushes, and lots of bug bites.”

Comments on MLive ranged from sympathetic to hilarious, with special attention to the concept of the Muskegon River running in a circle.

“So much win in this article I don’t know where to start!”, MIxPlant commented.

“At first they wanted to go water skiing, but couldn’t find a lake with a hill in it,” wrote ailteoir.

“No names? Condition of the tree?” daretohope joked.

“The river was designed by M.C. Escher,” remarked Jared Purcell.

On a serious note, Grabinski said that the Muskegon trio had not informed anyone of what they were doing.

Grabinski cautions that anyone going tubing should:

  • Tell friends and relatives of their plans.
  • Bring cell phones packed in plastic bags so they will stay dry.
  • Wear a hat to prevent sunburn.
  • Bring some food along, just in case.

The women appeared to be physically fine and declined a trip in the ambulance.

They did say they will never go tubing again.

[Photo by Bob Child/AP Images]