Rescuers free Oak Harbor man stuck in hot tub

Bob Barber laughs at the trouble he had exiting  his hot tub. It required the help of five emergency service personnel. - Jim Larsen / Whidbey News-Times
Bob Barber laughs at the trouble he had exiting his hot tub. It required the help of five emergency service personnel.
— image credit: Jim Larsen / Whidbey News-Times

Longtime Oak Harbor resident Bob Barber thinks residents are taking things too seriously these days what with the economy, local politics and the Pioneer Way construction delays.

So Barber called the paper with a humorous story that the main character might find embarrassing -- except that the main character is himself.

“I got in the hot tub and couldn’t get out,” he said with a laugh.

He entered his hot tub located in his yard at 589 SE Fifth Street on the morning of Aug. 25. He’d done it many times before, the only difference being that this time, he couldn’t get out.

His wife, Mary Jane, tried to help, but together they couldn’t budge the frame of the gregarious, 230-pound octogenarian, who boasts that he’s lost 30 pounds over the last year.

“She started laughing too,” Barber said, recounting the scene. “I’ve got a bad leg; I got it up but I couldn’t get the other leg over. The guy across the street was watching.”

The decision was made to call 911, which dispatched “two folks in an ambulance,” as Barber describes it. “No way,” he added, when asked if the man and woman who responded were able to get him out of the hot tub.

Next, an Oak Harbor fire truck arrived and out stepped “three pretty good-sized lads.” With everyone pulling together, they managed to drag Barber back onto dry ground.

“I was getting kind of worried but everybody got a laugh out of it,” he said. Paramedics checked him out and his health he was fine, with a good blood pressure reading of 130 over 60.

Barber, who owned B&B Automotive repair service for many years before retiring in 1996, just thought the town needed a good laugh. “It took five guys and a girl and I don’t weigh that much,” he said. “It was hilarious.”

And for those who can’t help but wonder:  yes, he was wearing a bathing suit.


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