Nacogdoches man helps rescue woman: "I heard someone hollering ‘help me I'm drowning’"

Updated: Jan. 31, 2017 at 6:31 PM CST
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Lake Scroggins. (Source: KTRE)
Lake Scroggins. (Source: KTRE)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The boating accident that took a man's life over the weekend, has left his 86-year-old mother recovering in the hospital after she was rescued by a good Samaritan.

Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said Pernell Tutt, and his mother were fishing in a boat on Lake Scroggins located on County Road 3-92 Saturday afternoon.

Their boat hit a stump, and officials said it sent the woman into the water.

Her son died trying to save her.

But 18-year old William Hill was in the right place at the right time, and answered the woman's cry for help.

"At first I thought it was someone messing around and joking, but as I listened I could tell it was serious and very dramatic," Hill said.

Hill was on his way home when he heard a woman yelling for help. That's when he pulled over to see what was happening.

"I heard someone hollering 'help me I'm drowning' and I could tell it wasn't really loud, but they were hollering really loud," Hill said.

As events unfolded Saturday night, he found woman, 86, floating in the water and later learned she was in the water for hours.

After the woman, Cora Tutt fell in the water and her son, Pernell, 52, immediately jumped in to help.

He tied a Cora to a log in the water and as he attempted to swim back to the boat, officials believe he drowned.

Moments later, Hill arrived and found his way to her.

"She was so cold she couldn't move and couldn't get into the boat. And I tried to pick her up and put her in the boat but the boat was tipping over and filling up with water when I tried to do that," Hill said.

Instead Hill wrapped some rope and had her hold onto the side of the boat as he paddled to the shore.

"We tried three of four times. Her trying to pull herself in and me pulling and couldn't really get her in. So that really was the best option," Hill said.

Although this story ends in tragedy with the loss of Pernell Tutt's life, the daring rescue of his mother, Cora, left the Hill's family proud of the risk and rescue efforts.

"They're all really proud. Both of my grandmothers were especially nervous about the whole ordeal but everyone was pretty proud," Hill said.

Cora's daughter Pam McLaine said the 86-year-old mother is recovering. The family hopes she will be out of the hospital soon.

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