DRAMATIC VIDEO: 17-year-old boy rescued from floodwaters on West Side

Boy was hanging onto tree at Rodriguez Park

By David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor, Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A 17-year-old boy is said to be fortunate to have survived after being pulled from the flood-swollen waters of Leon Creek that surround Rodriguez Park. 

"He got lucky," said Robert Riojas, a park employee who called 911 Monday night after a man ran into his office saying a boy was in the creek. "There was a kid out here hanging on for dear life."

Riojas said the teenager was in the middle of the creek, holding on to a tree branch for about 45 minutes before first responders with the San Antonio Fire Department were able to rescue him.

KSAT 12 News was provided video of the dramatic rescue by viewer Frank Garcia.

Riojas said the teenager was scared and tired, yelling, "I want to go home! Help me!"

Michael Wagner, acting battalion chief for the San Antonio Fire Department, said the boy was with a group of friends at Rodriguez Park around 7 p.m. when they tried to walk across a low-water crossing.

The boy lost his footing and was swept away by the swift-moving current, Wagner said. 

Riojas said he thought the young man had been sitting near the water when he fell in. 

Whatever the teenager was doing at the time, Joe Arrington, an SAFD spokesman, said, he shouldn't have been that close.

"Stay away from any drainage areas, any creeks, any rivers because those can rise at a moment's notice with run-off from upstream," Arrington said. 

Riojas said it was difficult enough for the professionals on scene who had to use a boat to get the boy to safety.

"It's as deep enough where the firemen tried walking in there," Riojas said. "They turned around."

Arrington said, "Turn around, don't drown" doesn't just apply to motorists. 

"It takes far less water to sweep a person off than it does a vehicle," Arrington said. 

Wagner said the incident is proof that people need to respect low-water crossings.

"We really ask people to avoid playing at floodwaters, especially with the weather we've had, there are a lot of creeks that are flowing faster than people realize. We ask everybody to respect the water," he said.

The boy was taken to the Children's Hospital of San Antonio for observation, but he is expected to be OK.

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