A Victoria man drowned after trying to recover his boat in Port O’ Connor.
According to Calhoun County Sheriff Bobbie Vickery, Thomas Followwill, 22, of Victoria was wade fishing Thursday evening with a friend off the shoreline of Grass Island, when their boat came loose from its anchor.
“At some point during that time, the tide changed, and the power pole did not adjust to it,” Vickery said.
Vickery explained that Followwill went after the boat, got out about 150 yards and got into a bind. Vickery said Followwill’s friend who was on the shore went after Followwill.
“Followwill’s friend got to him, started to bring him back and he slipped from his grasp,” Vickery stated. “Followwill told his friend ‘if you don’t let go of me, I am going to drown both of us,’ Followwill slipped out again and his friend did not see him again.”
According to Vickery, the friend of Followwill made it back to Grass Island and waded around in the dark across oyster reefs until he found a duck blind and crawled into it
The next morning (Friday) the friend left the duck blind, waved someone down and was taken to the Coast Guard Station.
“That is when the search started,” Vickery said.
Vickery said that CCSO, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the United States Coast Guard searched all day Friday and suspended the search at dark. They continued the search Saturday morning, and Followwill’s body was found about 9 am close to where he went under.
As sheriff and a face of public safety, Vickery urges people that if a boat comes loose from its anchor, do not under any circumstances chase it.
“You can always wave somebody down eventually who will take you to your boat,” Vickery said.
He went on to explain the value of a rope and anchor.
“I don’t care what technology is out there; you cannot beat the old fashion rope and anchor. Even if the tide comes in and it comes loose it is still dragging and slowing things down,” Vickery stated.
He added that if you have sandwich bags to put your cell phone in a couple of them and keep it on your person in case it is needed.