Excursion boat crew rescues woman from Brazos River

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A woman who either fell, jumped or was pushed from the Herring Avenue bridge across the Brazos River Monday night may owe her life to the quick-thinking of the two-member crew of an excursion boat on a dinner cruise.

(Courtesy photo)

Austin Weynand, the captain of the Waco River Safari sunset cruise and Thomas Finley, co-captain, were out for a typical evening with 35 guests aboard when the woman slammed into the water about 100 feet away from their boat.

“We saw her fall, so did multiple others on the boat,” Weynand said.

“We saw her hands go up in the air and somebody struggling, then go face-down in the water.”

Without hesitation, Finley jumped in to help the woman.

“When I reached her she was unconscious and face-down,” Thomas said.

“I flipped her over, put a life jacket underneath her, slowly started to lift her head up, and then water and foam came out of her mouth. Once the foam was coming out of her mouth her eyes opened and she regained consciousness,” he said.

Thomas wasn’t able to secure the lifejacket around her, but was able to keep her afloat by putting additional lifejackets underneath her, which passengers tossed to him from the boat.

The men first tried to lift the woman onto the bow of the boat, but it was too high.

Weynand was able to steer the boat toward shore as Thomas clung to the woman and the bow.

Thomas then swam with the woman in tow to shore where paramedics were waiting.

Thomas is in training to be a captain and takes his final test for the certification Wednesday.