Boater rescued after night in sinking pontoon

Becky Campbell • Updated Nov 12, 2019 at 7:50 PM

A Virginia man was rescued from his sinking boat Monday morning after he’d spent the night sitting on the high side as it took on water in Boone Lake.

The man, who officials did not identify, was from Pound, Virginia, and apparently fished in the Pickens Bridge Road area often. But Monday evening, as he floated toward Rockingham, his boat hit an outcropping of rock.

“Just before Rockingham, he struck a pile of rocks and punctured one of his pontoons,” paramedic Luke Gragg said. “He said he saw (the rock) right before he hit it. The pontoon filled up with water and the boat started to sink.”

The boat engine worked, but when the man revved it up, the boat sank further.

“Basically he floated down the lake toward Jay's Boat Dock and someone saw the boat and called to report it,” Gragg said. The call came in around 8:30 a.m. and paramedics had located the man around 9.

Paramedics hitched a ride with a Tennessee Valley Authority crew, which was conducting a fish habitat study on Monday. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also assisted in the rescue.

“He was just cold and wet,” Gragg said. After paramedics got the man warmed up, he said he just wanted to go home. The man’s boat was towed to shore and loaded onto his trailer, so after getting warm, he left for home. 



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