Boat capsizes: two fishermen's tale of survival - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/06/09 - Lake Palestine

Boat capsizes: two fishermen's tale of survival

Chris Jackson can laugh now, but what he and his fishing buddy went through nearly cost them their lives.

"Next thing we knew one big wave came and just filled the boat almost up so we had to move to the front and just within 10 or 15 seconds the boat was completely full," said Jackson. 

Their small aluminum bass tracker boat flipped over. Jackson and his friend Darrell Ethridge, frantically peeled-off their heavy clothes. Unfortunately, they did not have their life jackets. They had to cling the flipped over boat for their lives.

"The only thing you can do when you're on top of a boat like that no one can hear you yelling so just pray. We did a lot of that," said Jackson 

They were stranded in cold waters over 100 yards away from land. Desperately, Chris' friend tried to swim ashore. 

"He started swimming regularly at first then he started back-stroking. I was cheering him on. Actually, I was like, 'Go Darrell go!'," said Jackson. 

"An hour in the water hanging onto a boat, it was quite a feat just for them to hang on, much less one of them to swim near 100 yards to the shoreline. That was a remarkable feat. I don't recommend it. I recommend you staying with the vessel because it's going to float," said Smith County Game Warden Chris Green.  

Fortunatly, a woman heard their cries for help and called 9-1-1. Jackson wants to thank this angel and everyone else who rescued them.

"It really could have been tragic for these guys and their families and friends but lesson learned here," said Green.

Game wardens say every boater needs to keep a life jacket on, know what the weather is forecasted to do, and put your cell phone in a zip-lock bag to keep it dry. Jackson says he's learned his lesson and is just thankful he's here to tell this story.

"These guys are lucky, very lucky," said Green.

Jackson and his friend, Darrell Ethridge, were both treated for mild hypothermia. Jackson says he's ready to go fishing again this weekend, but this time, he'll be wearing a life jacket.

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com

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