WACO, Texas — During a dinner cruise Monday night, two Waco River Safari employees saved a woman they saw in the water near the Herring Avenue Bridge.
"It was a normal sunset cruise," co-captain Thomas Finley said. "It's just as normal as any other day."
Then, the cruise's passengers alerted the captains about something in the water.
"We had a couple passengers on board say, 'That was a body, that was a body!'" Finley said. "Immediately after hearing that, I took my shirt off, took my shoes off, everything came out of my pockets."
Captain Austin Weynand said he moved the boat closer to the woman while Finley jumped in with the life jackets to help.
"(I)put a life jacket on and got a life jacket in hand. And a few seconds later, we saw somebody's arms in the air and then they went belly down and were just not moving," Weynand said.
Finley said he managed to get her head above the water.
"Water came out of her mouth, and once I got to about 45 degrees, a lot of foam came out of her mouth and her eyes opened and she took a breath," he said.
Weynand said they were on the opposite side of the river and he started moving the boat over as quickly and calmly as possible. Weynand said he gave instructions, telling people to call 911 and others to grab life jackets.
The two couldn't lift her onto the boat, because its tread was 3 feet high. So, they took her to shore where police and emergency medical technicians were ready to help.
"I had her in one arm, and the bow of the boat in the other, and they dragged us about 30 yards over to shore," Finley said.
Both Finley and Weynand are CPR certified and said they felt confident handling the emergency situation, even though it was unexpected.
Weynand said it's crucial for a captain to have control of his boat.
"We did what anybody else would have done," he said. "You're in charge of a boat. You're in charge of a bunch of people. You guys have the training, so we just did what we were supposed to do."
While reflecting on the rescue, Finley said it was still a challenge despite his preparation.
"I could not feel my body at all. The adrenaline is insane," Finley said.
Both men said they're happy things played out the way they did.
"Things went as good as they could have gone," Weynand said.
"Being prepared is a lifesaver," Finley said.
Other stories on KCENTV.com: