Two young duck hunters boat capsizes
Luckily able to make it to safety after falling into freezing water
Two young men are fortunate to be alive after braving the freezing temperatures Monday morning to go duck hunting out on the Elk River, near Vanzant Bend in Belvidere.
Lincoln County residents Adam Bagley and Dannen Moore had a terrifying experience when their boat capsized while out on the river.
Bagley told a Nashville news station as a pretty experienced hunter, he wasn’t all that concerned about the weather.
“I’ve been duck hunting since I was 5 or 6 years old,” he said.
According to Bagley, duck hunters are apt to have more luck when the temperatures are cooler.
“(Duck hunting) gets good when it gets cold like this,” Bagley told Nashville reporters.
The young men said they were aware that the cold weather, with water temperature at close to 40 degrees and air temperature just under 10 degrees, can make duck hunting risky.
Everything was going as expected for the pair until the boat collided with a tree limb, causing Bagley and Moore to fall into the water.
From that point on, the boys’ hunting excursion made a turn for the worse.
Bagley said once in the water, he was definitely frightened for his life.
“With all the clothes I had on, it kept pulling me under and under and under,” he said. “The water got right to my mouth, and I realized then that this could be my last few seconds.”
Certain he was going to drown, Bagley did finally manage to find a tree limb and get himself out of the water.
Once out, he began searching for someone, anyone, to 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,” Bagley said. “I just kept smiling and laughing.
“I didn’t know if I had 10, 15, 20 miles to walk. I had no idea.”
And though glad to be out of the water, Bagley was still concerned because he didn’t know whether or not his friend was safe.
Having walked about half a mile, he saw a house and made contact with the homeowner inside who called for help.
“I was preparing myself,” Bagley said. “I just knew Dannen [Moore] didn’t make it.”
Rescue crews were called to search for Moore. However, prior to their arrival, Moore came walking up to the same house Bagley had spotted.
According to the Nashville news station’s report, Moore had been able to follow Bagley’s footsteps there.
“His shirt was so solid that I had to take a knife to cut his shirt off,” Bagley said. “And when I threw it to the ground, it just broke it was that cold.”
Moore was transported to Huntsville Hospital to be treat for frostbite but is now doing fine. As of Wednesday he was in a regular room and listed in “good” condition.
Bagley said albeit a scary trip, this won’t likely be the end of his duck hunting days. He gave some advice to other hunters and mentioned that next time he too will be a little more cautious.
“Be careful when you get out,” he said. “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.”
Though there were lifejackets in the boat, Bagley and Moore didn’t have them on at the time of the incident. Tennesse Wildlife Resource Agency’s officials have since stated that while they definitely recommend boaters wear lifejackets, they can’t guarantee they will.