Friday, March 11, 2005
A Boater got the ride of his life when he fell overboard and was swept through a floodgate of a dam. Authorities said the man and a female companion were boating on Lake Austin on Monday when the boat's motor quit and the current carried the boat up against the Tom Miller Dam. A security guard atop the dam threw a rope to the woman and guided her to a rescue boat, but Dirk Hoekstra fell into the water. "A second later is when my feet got sucked in by the water gate and that's when I went through," Hoekstra told reporters. He said he managed to take a good breath before he went under. "It was twisting me around like a rag doll and threw my arms all over the place and it just keeps flipping me from whirlpool to whirlpool," Hoekstra said. He said he surfaced a quarter- to a half-mile downstream from the dam, made his way to a house on shore and called 911. He "is one of the luckiest persons in Austin right now," said Bryan Fitzpatrick of the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.