2011 Elite Series - Evan Williams Bourbon Carolina Clash
Lake Murray - Columbia, SC, May 12 - 15, 2011

I'm going to yell here

Don Barone
James Niggemeyer helped save the lives of a man and his child on Day One.

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

No lyrics.

No back story.

No fancy writing.

Just SCREAMING!!

If you are out on the water in a boat WEAR YOUR DAMN LIFE JACKET.

ALL THE TIME.

Now let me tell you why I'm so PO'ed.  I just got off the phone with Elite angler, and friend, James Niggemeyer who tells me the following story, and when I'm done telling it, ya'll be screaming too.

James is shooting across the middle of Lake Murray about 10 a.m., pretty much in the widest part of the lake, "Halfway across db I see this boat and then suddenly I see what I think is a head in the water and as I'm going by all of a sudden I see these hands waving at me.  It was surreal."

So James slams his boat down from speed and then sees that the boat in the water is unmanned and headed back straight for the people in the water, "The boat is looping back and is either going to run over the people or get real close to them and the boat and motor is running."

And then he sees what's in the water, "db it's a man, maybe late 20s early 30s and he has a 2 or 3-year-old boy on his back and is trying to tread water, but it is not going well."

James is also a young man with tiny children, a deeply religious man who lives and breathes for his family.  I know I'm very close to James, Sandy, Daniel and Abigail.  It's a nightmare in the water, it's a nightmare in James' head.

It gets worse, the man doesn't have a life jacket on, the child does, but is crying hysterically.

So seeing the boat coming at them James does the only thing he can do, he puts his boat, his tournament boat in-between the people in the water and the approaching boat, "I have to diffuse the boat coming at them so I put my boat down in front of it so it won't hit them."

And the boat runs into James', "At that point my Marshal, Russ, the real hero in this, jumps out of my boat, and into the other boat and kills the ignition."

But then, "db I can't see where the people are, I don't want to move my boat without knowing where they are so I'm yelling 'where are they, where are they,' and Russ spots them and reaches down and lifts the child into the boat first, and then helps the dad climb in."

James tells me the man looked like he was in shock, "he was in a bad way, his boat was his safety but it was also his problem, it didn't look like that guy could have held up much longer in the water."

The man said his child fell overboard and that without thinking he just jumped in after him and didn't put the boat in neutral, James said it looked like he may have had his hands full since there were also two dogs in the boat as well.

When I asked James how HE was doing, he paused and said, "db I was a little rattled by it, they both were in a bad way in that water, a bad place, and I couldn't help feel for the child, crying like he was, I have two young children as you know and I couldn't imagine how they would have felt."

The guy had no life jacket on nor was he attached to a kill switch.

Folks, it's not rocket science WEAR THE DAMN LIFE JACKET.

And to James' Marshal, all we know is his first name is Russ, you sir are a hero … a huge shout out to you.

And to the man in the water, dude, you got lucky today.

Real lucky.

Real.

-- db

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