Boater saved by Smyrna police speaks out - WSMV Channel 4

Boater saved by Smyrna police speaks out

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It's a whopper of a fishing tale, not about a big catch, but a story of survival. A Murfreesboro man is lucky to be alive after almost drowning when his boat started to sink. He credits four Smyrna police officers with saving his life.

It started out as a peaceful morning of fishing on the Stones River last Wednesday.

"I went fishing (in) my small boat," said near-drowning victim Jose Cordoba-Ruiz.

Cardoba-Ruiz said he tried to start the motor on his boat but forgot it was in the fast position. He spun out of control, and then the motor just stopped.

"I (saw) a lot of water inside the boat, and it started going down," Cardoba-Ruiz said.

The boat flipped, and he held on for dear life.

"I tried swimming, and then I held to this (tow) ring," he said. "I was thinking I would die."

For what seemed like hours, he kicked to stay afloat and kept his head above water so he could breathe. He managed to find his life jacket but said he was too tired to try and swim to shore.

"I was scared and I said this was the last minute I will stay alive," he said.

Another boater at the Jefferson Springs Recreation area saw him struggling and called police.

Officers Keysha Bryant and Gary Schoon arrived and saw him panicking. They didn't hesitate and jumped in and rescued him.

As the officers were trying to get the victim safely to shore, he let go of his life jacket and went underwater, but they were able to pull him back up.

Officers Kenneth Reaves and David Roseberry were waiting on the bank.

"One officer threw me a rope and pulled me out," Cardoba-Ruiz said.

It was a happy ending to a quite eventful day, and a fishing tale that will be told for years to come.

"I said thank you very much, they saved my life," he said.

Cordoba-Ruiz only injured a finger. He said he won't be going fishing anytime soon.

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