Lake incidents highlight importance of life jackets

First responders say this week's emergencies on North Texas lakes serve as a timely reminder about the importance of wearing life jackets.

Crews continued to search Grapevine Lake for a 19-year-old man whose boat flipped over Tuesday night. He was not wearing a safety vest. His body was found Thursday afternoon.

In another incident on Lake Ray Hubbard, a swimmer survived wearing a life jacket.

RELATED: Crews out searching for bodies in 3 North Texas lakes

"It was calm. And all of the sudden the wind came up and it started blowing really, really hard,” said sailor Steve Hardy. “We had full sail up. No warning."

An unusual and powerful weather pattern Tuesday evening caught many people off guard, especially those who were sailing on the lakes.

"The water was just churning,” Hardy said. “It was amazing."

It was just before 8:30 p.m. when Hardy's boat was hit with high waves and strong winds.

"It was in an instant. We didn't even have time to douse the sails,” he recalled. “Like I said, we had full sail up. And all the sudden, boom! It hit us. We had wind gusts over 40 miles an hour just like that. Luckily, we had a big boat and it saved us."

The winds were strong that an 18-foot boat was stranded and three of the five people on board swam to shore wearing lifejackets. Dallas-Fire Rescue searched for the missing swimmers on the water and from the air. A little more than an hour later, they were all found safe on shore.

The same storm system hit Lake Grapevine boaters Tuesday night, too. 

"It capsized that sailboat. Everybody went into the water,” recalled Grapevine Chief Darrell Brown. “Five people were able to hang on to that boat. And for whatever reason, he couldn't or didn't."

In this case, Brown says no one on board was wearing a life jacket, including the 19-year-old Flower Mound man who went under.

Two days later, Grapevine Fire, Texas Game Wardens and even the Grand Prairie Fire Department were still searching for the missing boater. He was found on Thursday.

"They last saw him swimming,” Brown said. “But as the wind and waves were moving that large boat away drifting it away, they lost sight of him."

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