Father of man rescued from SA river: ‘It was a scary moment’

Mark Chavez, 22, waded into the water to fish, got lost

SAN ANTONIO – A family is resting easy after a long night of worry surrounding the situation that a 22-year old man found himself in along the banks of the San Antonio river.

San Antonio police and firefighters had to rescue that man, who relatives identified as Mark Chavez, from a rugged area along the river early Thursday morning.

RELATED: Rescue crews spend hours trying to reach man who got into trouble in San Antonio river

San Antonio police and firefighters worked together in the rescue operation. (KSAT 12 News)

Police said Chavez was among a group of people that went to the river near Interstate 37 and Loop 1604 late Wednesday night.

They said Chavez and another man waded through the water, away from the group, looking for a place to fish.

But the pair got lost and ended up miles downstream.

“They were fishing, actually,” said Mitch Chavez, Mark’s father. “They got too close to the water and the current took them and then they fought. They struggled and fought and fought and got tired.”

Mark Chavez also cut his feet as he was trying to make it out of the area.

The friend who was with him at the time told KSAT12 News that he tried to carry the 22-year-old for a time, then placed him down along the riverbank.

He said he then walked, alone and barefoot, through the darkness for about three miles to get help.

Police said the friend was able to direct rescue crews to the area where Mark Chavez was.

Using an SAPD helicopter and San Antonio Fire Department boats, they were able to locate him and then reach him several hours later.

This was one of several boats that rescue crews brought to the scene. Ultimately they were not able to use the motor boat because of shallow water, police said. (KSAT 12 News)

Police said the rugged terrain and strong current made it tough for crews to navigate the area.

“I’m glad it turned out good, thanks to the firefighters,” Mitch Chavez said. “I’ve been here all night, exhausted, you know? I’m glad he’s all right.”

Mitch Chavez said his was exhausted, as well, after the ordeal but managed to give him a smile.

“Hopefully he learned his lesson but I mean, it was scary,” he said. “It was a scary moment, though.”

After his rescue, Mark Chavez was loaded into an ambulance where paramedics bandaged the cuts on his feet.

He was treated at the scene and released to his family.

About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.

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