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Coordinated effort saves three boaters

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Gun Barrel City, Payne Springs, Tool and EMS respond to capsized boat

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GUN BARREL CITY–Three boaters were saved late Thanksgiving evening, thanks to the efforts of fire and police responders from Gun Barrel City, Tool, Payne Springs and EMS, who responded quickly to aid the fishermen when their boat capsized.

Gun Barrel City Central Dispatch received a cell phone call Nov. 22 around 11 p.m. from a fisherman requesting immediate assistance on Cedar Creek Lake. The caller reported he and two other fishermen were in the water, holding onto their capsized boat in the area of Tom Finley Park in Gun Barrel City.

The Gun Barrel City Fire Department was first on the scene and immediately called for assistance from neighboring departments and launched their rescue boat to aid in the search. Within minutes, fire and police units from Gun Barrel City, Payne Springs and Tool, in addition to EMS units from UT Health and CareFlite were on the scene and a command post set up at Tom Finley Park to coordinate the rescue. Tool Fire Department launched their rescue boat to aid in the search.

Gun Barrel City Fire Chief Joey Lindaman was aboard the GBC rescue boat beginning a grid search when he spotted a light in the water. "Upon arriving on location, we found three adult males clinging to the hull of the boat and all three were suffering from sever hypothermia," Lindaman said. The boat was located south of the Eastwood Island subdivision in Gun Barrel City.

The fishermen were immediately loaded onto the rescue boat, which headed to the command post at Tom Finley Park. One of the GBC Firefighters on board, who is a certified EMT, assessed the victims to determine which needed to be treated first by EMS.

"The men were extremely fortunate. When their boat capsized, their life jackets floated away. We estimate they were in 56 degree water for approximately 40 minutes. Luckily for them, they had a cell phone in a waterproof case that they used to call for help and signal the rescue boat," Lindaman said. "I am extremely proud of the team effort by all the responding agencies. Their quick actions resulted in a successful outcome for the victims," he added.

At press time, the names of the victims were not available. Reports indicate that all three were transported to UT Health Cedar Creek Lake in Gun Barrel City. One man was kept overnight for observation. The other two were treated and released.

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