Tour boat saves woman from drowning in Brazos River

News

WACO, Texas – Waco Police say a tour boat employee rescued a woman who fell into the Brazos River on Monday night.

According to the police report, Thomas Finley was on a Waco River Safari boat going under the Herring Bridge on the Cameron Park Drive side, when he heard a splash in the water.

He realized a person had fallen off the bridge and was face down in the water. Finley jumped in, turned the woman over, and then swam her to the edge.

The woman’s condition is unknown at this time, or why she fell into the water.

“There was a big splash over on the Martin Luther King Drive side of the Brazos,” says Austin Weynand, Waco River Safari Boat Captain.

Weynand and Co-Captain Thomas Finley first thought the noise came from a fish.

“We had some passengers say, ‘Oh, that was a body. A body fell off the bridge,” Finley says.

“Somebody was throwing their hands in the air and was face down, and I realized somebody was struggling and not managing to swim,” Weynand says.

Weynand made a U-turn with the boat towards the woman, and a passenger called 911. Then Finley jumped in.

“The second that I heard there was a body in the water and it had come off the bridge, I was ready to do whatever I needed to do,” Finley says.

Finley says he put a life jacket under the unconscious woman and tried to pull her head up.

“All of a sudden she took a breath and her eyes opened, and she was conscious again,” Finley says.

The boat dragged the pair partly across the river, and Finley swam the woman the rest of the way to first responders.

Even though this is the first time they have had to pull someone out of the water, this isn’t their first water rescue.

Weynand and Finley say they have had to help kayakers and paddleboarders three times in just the last week.

“Its just an awesome thing that we get to do that’s not part of the job description. Its kind of unexpected,” Weynand says.

Both have their boating licenses and are CPR and first aid trained. Finley says he credits the Boy Scouts with teaching him water training.

“I definitely think that the lady was very lucky that we were there,” Finley says.

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