14 Children, 4 Adults Plucked From Boat Perched on Waterfall
Fourteen preschool children on a day-care center outing and four adults were rescued Thursday from a disabled boat perched on the edge of a 15-foot waterfall in the fast-running Trinity River.
The paddle boat, used for excursions and similar outings, was without power when it was caught by the currents, Fire Department spokesman Charlie McCafferty said.
“The transmission on the boat broke down, causing the boat to lose headway,” he said. “It was directionless, rudderless and stopped there in the clear fork of the Trinity right on the brink of a dam, a spillway-type thing.
‘Boiling and Turbulent’
“The water was very rapid, boiling and turbulent. The boat hung on the edge of the spillway, tipped about 10 to 15 degrees,” McCafferty said.
He said R. J. Forrester, the first firefighter on the scene, swam with a lifeline to the boat and stayed on board until Lt. Tom Smith and diver Ricky Cruz arrived.
Rescuers managed to tie the craft to a railroad bridge, but McCafferty said it was “a pretty iffy situation.”
“They took off the children first,” McCafferty said. He said the rescue operation, using the bridge as a base, took about 45 minutes. No injuries were reported.
“A train came by over the bridge while we were in the middle of the rescue, but our boys just kind of climbed out on the railings and let the train go by,” McCafferty said.
He said the craft would be attached to power boats and towed upstream to safety.