Goodfellow AFB Firefighter Instructors Rescue Man Stuck in Propeller of Speedboat on Lake Nasworthy
SAN ANGELO, TX — It was planned to be a weekend on Lake Nasworthy with family and friends of some of the instructors from the 312th Training Squadron, known at Goodfellow Air Force Base as the 312th TRS Firedogs.
“We were on a pontoon boat looking for a place to drop anchor and swim,” said Bulldog, an Air Force staff sergeant. We found him through our contacts at the base and he asked that his real name not be used. “We were passing a speedboat and saw people waving at us, like they needed help.”
Other boats were nearby, too. But the drivers of those boats were busy headed into or out of the boat ramp near the Horseshoe on Lake Nasworthy to notice.
“We were the only ones who apparently saw them,” Bulldog said. It was around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 10 when Bulldog and crew saw the disabled speedboat near the Horseshoe.
As the pontoon boat inched closer to the speedboat, it became apparent that those waving for help were in distress, Bulldog said. Then, they saw what the trouble was. A man was holding on to the rear of the speedboat and appeared to be in agonizing pain.
“He was stuck in the speedboat’s propeller,” Bulldog said.
The members of the 312th TRS Firedogs are firefighter and EMT instructors, training primarily enlisted members of all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense to be certified firefighters, aircrew rescuers, and experts in hazardous material handling, or HAZMAT. Onboard that pontoon boat this past weekend were eight instructors representing just about every section of the squadron, commonly referred to as the DoD firefighters schoolhouse. All of them had training in emergency medical services, some of them EMTs.
“But we didn’t have any equipment with us,” Bulldog said.
The Goodfellow AFB guys dropped anchor near the speedboat and several jumped into the water to assess the situation. After determining the speedboat motor was off, one of the instructors swam to the man in distress.
“He was already pretty pale from blood loss,” Bulldog recalled. “He was probably about to pass out.”
One of the instructors felt the man’s leg under the water to assess the injuries.
“It was pretty bad. He had severe lacerations from the ankle up to the right butt cheek,” Bulldog said.
While the instructors were assessing the situation, someone on the boat had already called 9-1-1. Another was making what Bulldog called a “turn and burn” tourniquet for the man’s leg from one of the pontoon boat’s tie-down or anchor ropes. Meanwhile, passing boats were creating waves in their wake that were aggravating the makeshift rescue operation.
“People were just driving by; no one stopped. The wake was getting painful,” Bulldog said.
It didn’t take long for the San Angelo Police Department’s Lake Division in their rescue boat to arrive, however. The instructors were relieved because the SAPD boat had a full assortment of first aid supplies, including a real tourniquet.
“He had lost a lot of blood,” Bulldog said, as the instructors helped lift the man out of the water and onto the SAPD boat and stabilized him onboard before the SAPD boat sped to the shore for an awaiting ambulance.
Bulldog doesn’t know what happened to the man that was rushed to the hospital. He was grateful they were able to help and speed up the time to get the victim to the emergency room.
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