Duane2135

Kids in the drink, holiday weekend

13 posts in this topic

So we went to Possom Kingdom lake for the weekend staying with friends.  On Saturday we went to the firework show.  At least 1000 boats were there in attendance.  Afterward, it seems there is a race to leave.  Waves were huge and confused.  Normally I will wait out the mad dash, but sitting there is equally uncomfortable. So we pulled the anchor.  But it had snagged another boats anchor line.  Never did figure out who's line it was.  It took me and my son to pull up the anchor, in 6' waves.  After untangling the anchor we started heading back at a leisurely pace around 12 mph, just fast enough to not get run over, but able to get on top of the confused waves.

About a mile into the return, I heard a shrieking cry for help to starboard, or so I thought.  I look over to the right and there was no boat and no dock???  Where was the scream coming from?  I wondered if I was hearing things?  So, to confirm I throttled down to idle and I hear another call for help.

OMG there was a 7yo boy bobbing in the waves, in a life jacket screaming his head off 20-30 feet off The starboard!!! 

I couldn't believe my eyes!  I lit up my dock lights as I circled in on him.  My daughter-in-law, who was wearing a life jacket, dove in to get him.  About that time some 40-50 feet away I see another kid (4yo) via the dock lights!  I wanted to rush over but we were too involved with getting our swimmer and child-1 in the boat while fighting the waves.  

About that time another boat came over.  I yelled at them and pointed them to kid-2.  They spotted him and retrieved him.  Meanwhile my 7yo grandson got so upset by the scene that he started crying.  Emotions were extremely high.  I ask the child how many people were in the water, he said he didn't know.  So now I'm wondering if a boat sank, or that they may have fallen off a boat in the rough waves.

Soon we spot a pontoon boat that appeared to be searching for the kids.  We met up with them, but the kids were not theirs.  They said a wake boat down the lake was disabled, and they were frantically looking for the young boys.

During a break in the waves we were able to get the 4yo from the other boat.  Primarily to get the boys together hoping calm their nerves.  The other rescuers followed us and the pontoon boat to the disabled boat, which must have been 1/4 to 1/2 mile away.  We found a sinking 24' wake boat with 17 people on board!  We took on 2 more children and the boys father.  About that time we were surrounded by Game Warden, Brazos River Authority, and Sheriff boats.  Apparently the stranded boat had called 911, reporting the missing children.

Needless to say, they quickly took over the scene and evacuated the distressed boat to police boats and the other boats that were providing aid.  We were all ordered to meet at the nearest public dock and to follow one of the police boats, which had several of the victims. As we arrived it was like a scene on TV, so many police and paramedics, it was surreal.

We docked and offloaded the victims.  Paramedics quicly jumped into action checking out the kids that we found in the drink.

The Police were visibly upset, that the captain of the disabled boat had so overloaded his boat.

Apparently they took a series of waves over the bow.  One of them apparently washed the kids out of the boat.  I'm not sure how long the boys were in the water, or how they were so far away from there boat.  We didn't stick around, because they needed the dock space for the train of boats coming in behind us which all participated in the rescue and that had victims on board.  The police bid us fairwell, and we pulled away.  As we left the harbor we passed the train of inbound boats including the disabled boat being towed in by police.  I found this curious because when we left the scene the captain had finally managed to get his engine started.  I don't know if it died again, or if the law dogs forced him to take a tow.

After all this, and on our way home we all started to decompress during our 1.5 hour trip to our home port, which thankfully was uneventful.  I also realized that I could have used my VHF, which was turned on.  But it never occurred to me to use it.  I was too busy keeping my boat and crew safe.

I'd like to thank those other unknown boaters that all chipped in to help those in need.  Be safe out there, you never know what you will come up on.

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It is because of this kind of crazy that I stay off the lake this week end. I have seen too many times where boaters do not use common sense on holidays. Some of the boaters it is the only time they go out at night. The lake looks completely different at night.

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Good job Duane.  You were in the right place at the right time for a reason - and you answered the call. 

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32 minutes ago, VAboater said:

Good job Duane.  You were in the right place at the right time for a reason - and you answered the call. 

Ditto

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HOLY COW!  What a story.  I'm a little emotional just reading it!  Well done, Duane.  We were out too after the fireworks with a thousand other boats.  I use the radar along with the chartplotter and go about 11-12 mph watching for lights and radar pings.  It never occurred to me to watch out for humans in the water.  Wow.  We're going out again Tuesday night.  I'll be even more attuned to the water although there will be far fewer boats.

@mpm330, I couldn't agree more with you on Lewisville.  That lake just scares me even in the daylight.  So many DFW kids with daddy's $$ who have zero clue on a much smaller lake.  I know the same exists on Texoma, but much more real estate.

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I seriously doubt that I'll make the journey next year for a firework show.  Had I been 20ft to the right, I'd be having to deal with pain and grief of striking one or both.  I'm simply not prepared for that over a firework show.

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7 hours ago, Duane2135 said:

I seriously doubt that I'll make the journey next year for a firework show.  Had I been 20ft to the right, I'd be having to deal with pain and grief of striking one or both.  I'm simply not prepared for that over a firework show.

I do understand

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I had a scare like that on Lake Whitney several years ago. At dusk I was heading out of one of the marinas and just happened to see the swimmer's head just in front of me. I managed to get the boat shut down and missed him. Turns out he was just out for a swim. Had it been a little later I would not have seen him. It is one of the reasons I skip 4th of July fireworks on the lake. 

Duane, you did good.

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+1 Duane, great job and I'm glad that this story had a happy ending for all.

I stay away from the lake during holidays; however, I'm glad you were there to help these kids.

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WOW!  Well done Duane. I can just imagine the emotions.  We go out for the fireworks show on our lake, along with many hundred other boaters. Anyone who goes with us to see the show gets the same speech. We'll get there early, anchor up in a relatively secluded spot, then wait at least 45 minutes after the show is over before we pull up the anchor and make the 30 minute ride (normally 10-15) back to our slip.

Sadly, this year marked the third year in a row we've had a fatality on our lake over the 4th of July weekend. All have them have been during the day, and all of them have involved too high of speeds, and suspicion of alcohol being involved.

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You know, I tend to think that things happen for a reason.  When we anchored for the fireworks on July 3, I was impressed how well we were anchored.  When I set the anchor, I could tell we were REALLY well set and sprung back against the anchor.  That's a good thing with all the large wakes generated by all the other festivity seeking boats, but deep inside, I knew we were a little "too" set and had a hunch we had snagged something.  So I took advantage of the extremely well set anchor and enjoyed the evening knowing I was in for a fight after the fireworks.

Now, we always wait a while after the fireworks to begin our 45 minute or so trek back to the marina.  I take the time to put away the grill, clean up a bit, get everything in order.  Even then I wait around a little while further just to make sure the "crazy traffic" was well on its way.  This time I decided to go ahead and start wrestling with the anchor.  And wrestle, I did!  I must have spent 30 minutes working on that anchor with my friend working the helm shifting into and out of gear.  I thought I was going to break the windless, so I was prepared to cut the anchor if all else failed.  Finally I broke free, but the windless was struggling to bring the anchor up.  As the anchor broke the surface, I saw that I had a branch of about 6 inch diameter hanging with likely 99% of whatever I was snagged on still underwater.  I wish I had light and could have taken a picture.  The thing HAD to be 500 pounds or more.  With more struggling, I finally broke it free only to discover I was also snagged on a cable of some sort.  That was pretty easy to dislodge and we were on our way home.

I guess the point is, who knows what we would have run into (or not) had we not been delayed by the anchor.  Maybe there was a drunk with our name written on it.  Can't predict these things, but makes me wonder if there wasn't a reason the good Lord delayed us.  Who knows...but I kept those things in mind while I battled the tree trunk that evening in the dark.

 

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Wow, what a frightening story Duane!  But thank goodness you were there to save them.  Had you not seen that boy, things could've been much worse should another boat had come along that did not see him.

Yeah boating at night is a whole different animal and I always try to make a point to be home by sunset.

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