‘It’s a Miracle They’re Still Alive Today,’ Say First Responders of the Longhorn Dam Boat Rescue

A party of boaters is lucky to be alive on Friday following a near escape at Lady Bird Lake’s Longhorn Dam on Thursday afternoon.


According to one 911 caller, the boat was “right up against the dam,” with roughly a third of it dangling over. Another person commented that the boat appeared to be on its way over the dam.


The four women leased the boat from Retro Boat Rentals, situated at 74 Trinity Street, according to KVUE. According to Good Morning America (GMA), the women called the owners for assistance, but an officer with the Austin Police Department Lake Patrol Unit indicated the current was too strong for that boat as well.

The Victim’s Boat was Halfway Over The Dam.

Officer Brad Smith explained that “The victim’s boat was halfway over the dam, and another boat was kind of tethered up to them, effectively holding them in place. That boat lacked the propulsion to escape the dam. It was merely keeping it from collapsing ”


Kevin Reinis, executive director of Austin Rowing Club, which manages Retro Boat Rentals, stated that protocols are in place to try to prevent such events.

Showing out Potential Hazards And the Dams At Each End Of The Lake

Customers, for example, are given a map of Lady Bird Lake upon arrival, outlining potential hazards and pointing out the dams on each end of the lake, according to Reinis. He further stated that they are strictly forbidden from passing certain locations. Longhorn Dam, according to Reinis, is more than 1.2 miles away from the docking area.


Reinis is proud of how his staff member, James, was able to restrain the visitors from overstaying their welcome.


Reinis said that “He was able to secure a line to the boat that was about to go over the dam, potentially and hold them back, which provided APD Lake Patrol the opportunity to be on the site and render further recovery,”

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