Five rescued from sinking boat at Lake Grapevine

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 1 at 1:32 PM

LAKE GRAPEVINE — As search teams continued looking for a missing swimmer at Grapevine Lake Monday afternoon, there were some harrowing moments when it was feared that several more could go under.

 Officers searching for the holiday weekend's latest drowning victim were suddenly pulled off to deal with another emergency just yards away.

A news camera captured the terrifying scene as a pleasure boat with at least five on board began taking on water 50 yards off shore.

Among the people rushing to help were two off-duty Arlington firefighters.

"It was obviously sinking; they were screaming for help," said Brad Joseph.

"We were on the shore and we heard the kids screaming and waving their hands in the air, and we just ran on our boat and went on out," added Eric Chinchilla.

They said none of the children aboard the boat had been wearing life jackets.

"We knew we had to get to them reasonably quick," Joseph said. "The two females further out were obviously not going anywhere; there's no way they would've made it in by themselves."

Once all returned to shore safely, the owner blamed a powerful wave for swamping his boat.

A short time later, rescue teams returned to their original task of finding the body of a 22-year-old swimmer who disappeared on Sunday evening. They used sonar and computers to scan the lake bottom for any trace of the swimmer, whose name was not released.

"Trying to get an area pinpointed was just very difficult due to the fact that the wind was blowing hard, the boat was moving, and things of that nature," said Grapevine Fire Department Deputy Chief Kent Short.

Officials were actually using more boats to keep others away from the search area than were being used for the actual search. The search was scheduled to continue through Monday evening.

The swimmer at Grapevine Lake was one of four killed at three North Texas lakes this weekend — a grim beginning to the summer.

"It's kind of hard to be celebrating when you know there are people over there waiting for bad news," said lake visitor Lori Vinz.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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