East Texas Boy Saved From Drowning By Former Coach - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/29/08 - East Texas

East Texas Boy Saved From Drowning By Former Coach

It was planned as a surprise family outing, but turned into a day that could have ended a 14 year old East Texas boy's life.

Yesterday morning near Lake Palestine, the Gonzalez family went fishing near the dam. But when an accidental slip sent Aziel into the water, it was a chance meeting with his former coach that saved his life.

Today, KLTV 7's Danielle Capper met with the Gonzalez family who says Bobby Redd was God's angel protecting their son.

"They were fishing right there."

Omar Gonzalez, his two nephews and three sons were fishing here on this bank.

"I was on that side when I was fishing," Aziel explains. "But my reel, my line got stuck in the rocks on this side. I came around this way to try to get it loose, but I was too close and I slipped in there."

"When I saw him fall off it was really hard experience. I didn't know what to do," said Omar.

Not knowing how to swim, Omar tried everything he could to save his son.

"I didn't know what to do. I ran to my truck to try to get some stuff [to throw in the water for him to hold onto.] I was so desperate."

But during that desparation, a hero was close by.

"I just happened to be here. I walked down, I was getting ready to go. I was heading back to the truck when I heard the splash.

Bobby Redd ran to his truck to find something to reach out to Aziel, who was barely keeping his head above water.

"That's all I could see of him, just his face," said Bobby.

"I was confident that I could get out because I know how to swim," said Aziel, "But I guess I got too tired because the weight of my shoes and everything. I was scared I didn't know what to do really."

Not long after, Aziel went under, and Bobby dove in after him.

"I just thank God because the second time I went down I saw his hand pick me up. I was already down. I saw him pick me up," said Aziel. 

"I had the arm around him and I just scissor kicked and went toward the bank with him and got him. When I got there, his dad was standing there, we pulled him up, we all embraced and cried right there and he said, 'thank you coach'. I didn't even know he knew I was a coach," recalled Bobby.  

Aziel remembered Bobby from when he coached him in the fifth grade. Now, both of them have a much stronger memory they will never forget.

"I would have been (shakes head)...if it weren't for his angels," said Aziel. 

"I believe God had a purpose for my son, Mr. Redd and myself," Omar told us. 

"I thought about my kids. I have two boys. I took them fishing all the time when they were small. To see the look on the dads face, you know - somebody help my child. I mean I just lost it. I went. I did what I had to do," said Bobby.

And because of his actions, the Gonzales' now also call Bobby "family."

Aziel was taken to a local hospital yesterday and checked out to make sure was no water on his lungs.

He was released and told to just rest.

Danielle Capper, Reporting dcapper@kltv.com

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