Rowlett resident Aaron McDaniel saved the life of a boater on the morning of July 4 on Lake Ray Hubbard.
McDaniel and the Rowlett Fire Department did not identify the name of the boater.
McDaniel saw the boater as he was coming back from catching a blue catfish for a friend’s fish fry.
“As I was going back, I saw the lights of the emergency response vehicle on the hill of my neighborhood on Spinnaker Cove, and they were waving at me,” McDaniel said. “I naturally thought they were waving at a boat going by. Then they started pointing to the water, and I realized there was a gentleman in the water.”
The boater was holding onto the keel of his overturned and submerged boat. Assistant Chief Burney Baskett said the boater was wearing a life jacket. Multiple units were dispatched to Columbia Drive and prepared rescue boats to retrieve the boater.
“They were trying to throw him a rope or a preserver, but he wasn't letting go of the boat,” McDaniel said. “He had a death grip on it. When he saw me, I noticed his eyes were as big as dinner plates. He was scared.”
McDaniel said he took his trolling motor to the oater and threw him a rope. The boater then let go of his boat to grab McDaniel’s.
“He said he was okay and told me he'd almost had it,” McDaniel said. “There were two big waves that came up over the back of his boat, and he just said it was all over from there.”
Once the boater was secured onto McDaniel’s boat, they shared a laugh over McDaniel’s catch.
“No heroism or anything,” McDaniel said. “It was just being there for a fellow fisherman. That's the most important thing. I know our lake's taken a lot of people, and I'm grateful he wasn't added to the list.”
McDaniel said he has saved more than one life while fishing on Lake Ray Hubbard. He recounted how he helped a couple of his friends on fishing trips when they had trouble with their boats and helped the fire department get his friends to shore.
“I spoke to the Rowlett chief,” McDaniel said. “He was a cool cat. We spoke for about 10 to 15 minutes about everything. You knew right then they were good people.”
McDaniel exchanged high-fives with members of the fire department after the boater was escorted to the ramp.
“We were all laughing about the fact I got a big blue cat and saved a man at the same time,” McDaniel said. “It's a pretty good morning.”
After the boater left, McDaniel and the fire department parted ways.
“The chief said he was going to get with me soon, so if I don't hear from him, I'm probably going to catch another one and see if the dudes at the fire department want to do a fish fry or something," McDaniel said.