Lake Palestine survivor: "The Lord was with me" - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Lake Palestine survivor: "The Lord was with me"

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - For more than 24 agonizing hours, an East Texas man was clinging to a tree stump, holding on for life. All the while, his nephew was dying in the chilly water right next to him.

Mike Ammons, 61, and Tommy Cook, 64, had been on Lake Palestine all day Wednesday, fishing near the Villages Marina off of FM 2661.

Thursday afternoon, rescue crews found Ammons alive. Cook, unfortunately, did not survive. Ammons said while the boat was sinking, he helped Tommy Cook and himself put on their life jackets.

Mike Ammons grew up in the Boy Scouts and is a Vietnam Veteran. But he said none of those experiences compare to what he went through for 24 hours.

"I couldn't hardly move. I was almost locked up. Real sore, dehydrated," Ammons said. "I sat there and just shivered with the wind blowing last night all through today. It was cold."

For 24 hours, he clung to a tree branch. He said the only tool he had was a trout line.

"I made a loop in and put my foot in it to keep it out of the water and the other side had a knot the tree, but I sat on a limb about the big around and it hurt after about two to three minutes," Ammons said.

For hours, he watched rescue crews search for him.

"Finally, they saw the boat. They didn't see me. I was waving the whole time. They finally saw me after seeing the boat," Ammons said.

Mike said for those 24 hours above the water, he prayed.

"I thought I was doing pretty good. The wind died down and then I looked behind me and there's that big blue cloud bank coming, and I said, 'Oh Lord', that's what I prayed for, 'no lightning or rain'. And it didn't. I was lucky and the Lord was with me."

Ammons' family is just amazed that he's doing so well. Mike said it was a miracle being alive, in the hospital room with his son.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Click here to watch the entire interview with Mike Ammons.

For more about today's search efforts from DPS, click here. 

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