Witness rescues surviving boater on Lake Palestine spillway - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Witness rescues surviving boater on Lake Palestine spillway

(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)

New details from a man who witnessed a boat going over the spillway at Lake Palestine.

Investigators said Billie Wagnon died when the boat went off the spillway near Frankston. Her husband, Keith Wagnon, 70,  was critically injured and remains in ICU. 

Related: Authorities identify victim killed in boating accident on Lake Palestine

Quintus Lee, 23, said the area near Lake Palestine's spillway is a popular spot for fishing.

"I've been fishing out there since I was 14," Lee said.

Wednesday evening, panic set in as a speed boat with two people inside went over the edge.

"It made a big boom sound," Lee said.

Lee says he watched as the boat plummeted down the spillway, then took action.

"My shirt was already off. I took off my socks and my shoes and ran out there and dove into get them," Lee said.

He said he was able to pull the man out of the water.

"His face was bruised and cut and his jaw was sticking out. He had a gash on his stomach,” Lee said.

Lee said his mom called 911 while he tried to comfort the boater.

"I was just like stay with me, stay with me," Lee said.

Lee said it wasn't until after first responders arrived on the scene that they realized a woman was also in the boat.

"There are buoys out in front of the spill way out in the main portion of the lake that indicate that there is danger," said Game Warden Mike Hanson.

Early Thursday morning the game warden's dive team discovered the boat was lodged in between cement pillars and it would take heavy machinery to remove it from the spillway.

"We try to locate any kind of evidence that may indicate what may have occurred," Hanson.

The boat was removed from the lake Thursday afternoon. An autopsy has been ordered for the woman pronounced dead.

Authorities say they do not suspect foul play, but they are investigating the incident.

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