Thirty-Four-Year-Old Houston Man Drowns in Canyon Lake Trying to Save Family Members
A 34-year-old Houston man drowned in Canyon Lake Wednesday after he jumped off a pontoon boat to rescue family members struggling to stay afloat in high winds and choppy water.
Comal County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Det. Rebekah Coons said today that CCSO responded to initial reports of a drowning around 1:30 p.m.
She confirmed the man, whose name has not yet been released, was one of 17 people aboard the pontoon. He was able to get two people back on the boat, with the help of an unidentified witness, before drowning.
Coons said she could not provide further details.
CCSO has not released an official report. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Game Warden Javier Fuentes, who works in the Law Enforcement Division for Region V, said game wardens also are working on a report. TPWD will spearhead the investigation.
Zack Pennell, the owner of Canyon Lake Adventures, confirmed today his company owns the pontoon boat involved in the incident.
An employee of another water-related business who wishes to remain anonymous said he heard the family initially reserved a boat from a different outfitter but was told winds were too high to safely take a boat out on the water. Instead, they leased a pontoon boat from Canyon Lake Adventures.
Although he did not see the drowning occur, the witness said he was on the shore when a Canyon Lake Adventures employee on a jet ski towed the pontoon boat backward to an area around Boat Ramp #17. The boat became adrift after the key broke off in its ignition and the family was unable to turn the engine back on and return to shore.
The witness also said that an unofficial report he saw indicates the drowned man was trying to rescue his two children and that everyone else aboard the vessel were members of the same family.
A man on a jet ski helped the father safely get the children back on the boat, he said. However, he was unable to reach the father in time.
It is unclear whether anyone on the pontoon boat was wearing life jackets.
On Wednesday, the U.S. National Weather Service for Austin-San Antonio reported widespread wind gusts of between 25 to 40 miles-per-hour in the Hill Country.