TN duck hunters survive boat capsizing in frigid river - WSMV Channel 4

TN duck hunters survive boat capsizing in frigid river

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Adam Bagley (left) and Dannen Moore Adam Bagley (left) and Dannen Moore
WINCHESTER, TN (WSMV) -

The last place you would want to be in chilly weather is on the water. But two young hunters are feeling lucky to be alive and able to share their story after their boat capsized in a frigid Middle Tennessee river.

"I've been duck hunting since I was 5 or 6 years old," said hunter Adam Bagley.

And in Tennessee, there's no better time than right now.

"It gets good when it gets cold like this," Bagley said.

Bagley and his friend, Dannen Moore, knew the risks when they put their boat in the Duck River Monday morning. The water temperature was about 40 degrees, while the air temperature was about 8 above zero.

After their boat hit a tree limb and flipped, tossing them into the water, they were suddenly fighting for survival.

"With all the clothes I had on, it kept pulling me under and under and under. The water got right to my mouth, and I realized then that this could be my last few seconds," Bagley said.

Just when Bagley thought he was a goner, he found a tree limb and a burst of strength. He pulled himself out and then he started walking for help.

"I told myself if I was going to die in this moment that I was going to make sure they knew I was happy. I just kept smiling and laughing," Bagley said. "I didn't know if I had 10, 15, 20 miles to walk. I had no idea."

Bagley also didn't know where his buddy was.

After about a 1/2 mile, Bagley found a house with a homeowner inside, and they called for help.

"I was preparing myself. I just knew Dannen didn't make it," Bagley said.

But before crews could rescue Dannen Moore, he showed up at the same home. He found his friend's footsteps and followed them to safety.

"His shirt was so solid that I had to take a knife to cut his shirt off. And when I threw it to the ground, it just broke it was that cold," Bagley said.

Moore is frostbitten but otherwise fine. He even sent us a photo of himself giving a thumbs up from his hospital bed Tuesday.

Eventually, the two plan to return to the river. But, next time, they'll bring a whole new level of respect for it.

"Be careful when you get out. Don't underestimate the weather. You can't beat mother nature. It gave its best punch at us yesterday. We swung back with all we had, you know," Bagley said.

The young men had life jackets in the boat, but they weren't wearing them. Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency say they can't force people to wear them, but they certainly recommend it.

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