AUSTIN, Texas – A man was airlifted from Lake Austin Saturday after a boating accident.
Around 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Matthew Curtain was boating near Loop 360 bridge with family and friends when he saw the victim standing on the front of a pontoon boat. The man fell off the pontoon and got caught in the boat’s propeller.
“Knowing that it was a pontoon boat where you’ve got an outboard engine in the back center — I thought that, that didn’t look good,” said Curtain.
Curtain, a former lifeguard, asked his friend to get closer to the accident.
“We noticed a significant amount of blood in the water,” he explained. “I jumped in to see if there was something I could do to help. Swam up to their boat and by that time the driver of the pontoon boat had been able to pull [the victim] up onto the back deck. There was just an incredible amount of blood on the boat.”
The driver, a young woman, was on the phone with 9-1-1. Curtain says she used a belt to apply a tourniquet to the man’s right arm, where he was most severely wounded.
The driver of the boat followed Curtain’s party to the nearby Loop 360 boat launch where first responders met them. Three young children were also on the boat.
Curtain said, “it was incredible to see [first responders] speed and intensity… it just gave me a lot of confidence that if I’m ever in a situation like that or if my children are in a situation like that, we have people that are incredibly well trained and highly responsive .”
Curtain says he is grateful for the first responders on-scene and minimizes his own actions. Still, he encourages others to “go take a basic lifesaving training course. Because you don’t know if you’ll ever need it.”
He says he is also saddened to hear that the Austin Police Department will need to cut two of their eight Lake Patrol Officers in August due to budget cuts. “I would hate to think that there were two less people that could have been on scene to help.”