One dead, one alive after 16-hour search - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

One dead, one alive after 16-hour search

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Mike Ammonds and Tommy Cook were on the lake, enjoying the sport they loved the most until their boat began to sink-at that point there was nothing they could do but wait.

"The family knew where their fishing spots were and were able to relay that information to the search and rescue," Trooper Jean Dark says.

While crews began to search the lake, Tommy and MIke did what they could to stay out of the frigid water, but as the daylight faded, so did their strength.

"He tried to get Tommie to get onto the boat and he was trying to pull him up but he couldn't hang on anymore,"James Ammons, Mike's son, says.  

After sixteen hours of searching and praying- a helicopter crew spotted a glimmer of home in the distance.

"They were able to identify what looked like blue jeans and of course immediately called for the boat assistance," Trooper Dark says.

Prayers were answered-Ammons was there, clinging to a stump.

"In East Texas we're so grateful to have the helicopter out of Longview. The aviation clearly made a huge difference in how this least for one family," Trooper Dark says.

And the sound of the helicopter was music to the Ammons' Family's ears.

"When I heard it I dropped to my knees, thanked God and then went and told the rest of my family," James says.

As they celebrated the rescue of one family member, tears fell for the other.

"We're happy for the Ammons family that Mike is doing okay and that's the way Tom would have wanted it," Vicki Helsel, Cook's cousin, says.

A bittersweet ending, but one that could have been much worse.

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