Three youths had to be rescued from the waters of Lake Waxahachie by firefighters following a baptismal service Saturday afternoon. First responders were dispatched to the lake at 2:22 p.m.
“We got a call of two victims in the water that needed a rescue. We went ahead and responded with engine one because it is in their district. We had the dive team responding with a boat and dive gear. They said at first it was in the middle of the lake with a boat. When we got here there were three victims in the water,” Waxahachie Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Alexander said. “When the engine one crew got there all three victims were in the water. Engine One’s crew went into the water and pulled them out.”
Alexander said originally the call stated there was a boat involved, but there was no boat.
One of the three individuals was transported to Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie by East Texas EMS ground ambulance. Paramedics released the other two individuals at the scene.
At the time of the call members of two Dallas churches, Riverwood Church and Casa del Rey, were out at the lake. Casa Del Rey was having a picnic and Riverwood had a baptismal service. The baptisms were done about 40 feet from the shore.
Staff member of Riverwood Church Gilbert Pacheco said following the baptism several of the youth remained in the water to swim.
“While they were out there playing they drifted out into the boat channel. When you get into that the lake just drops really fast. They didn’t realize that they were in such deep water and one of the kids floated away from the other kids and went down,” Pacheco said. “What happened then is everyone started to realize where they were standing. Then they started grabbing onto the youth pastor and he must have had quite a few kids grabbing onto him. They started swimming back as best they could and the rest of us went out to help them get back in.”
Pacheco said at the time of the call there were eight youths in the water when they discovered they were in the boat channel. Members of the church were able to get five out and continued to help the other three when the fire department arrived on scene.
Alexander said pump engineer Robby Muetzenburg and firefighter Lane Duwe went into the water to provide assistance to the three youth in the water.
Also called out the scene to provide assistance were members of the Waxahachie Police Department and Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.
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