A fisherman was pulled from the floodwaters of the Trinity Thursday morning by a rescue boat crew from the Riverside Fire Department. Walker County 911 Operators received a call just before 7:30 Thursday morning, reporting that a 78 year old male had fallen overboard in the Trinity River downstream from the Highway 19 bridge. He was with another person when their boat motor died, leaving them drifting downstream. As they drifted the man tried to grab onto an overhanging tree limb but fell overboard. Swift-water rescue crews from the Riverside, Thomas Lake, Huntsville and New Waverly Fire Departments were dispatched to search for the victim in the vicinity of Lake Rd.
The Riverside Fire Department’s Fast Rescue boat team located the boat and the victim approximately three miles downstream from where they had launched at the Hwy 19 boat ramp. They quickly rescued the victim in the water and then ferried the boaters safely back to shore.
Riverside Fire Chief Ben Crocker estimated that the water temps were still in the 60s, but noted that although he was cold and tired from his ordeal, the boater was evaluated by EMS on scene and did not require further treatment or transportation to the hospital.
Chief Crocker advised that although the Trinity is slowly receding, boaters should be cautious if they decide to go on the river and make sure that their boat is in sound mechanical condition and they utilize all available safety equipment. When the boater fell overboard this morning he was not wearing a life jacket but his partner was able to get one to him, likely saving his life.
Many of the firefighters involved in the rescue have been training together for the past several months, perfecting their water rescue skills. They are certified to national standards as Swift-water Rescue Technicians and Fast Boat Rescue Operators. Working together, they respond as a team to high-risk water rescue situations all over the area.
A Flood Warning remains in effect for the Trinity River as it continues to recede. The Trinity is expected to remain in minor flood stage for several days.