A man whose boat overturned in the Tacoma Narrows on Wednesday afternoon was able to safely swim to shore with the help of a passing train crew, according to the Tacoma Fire Department.
Destiny, Tacoma Fire’s boat, was dispatched about 1 p.m. to a call of a person in the water south of the Tacoma Narrows bridges, department spokesman Joe Meinecke said.
The crew of a passing train saw the man in the water and stopped to assist him, Meinecke said.
The man, who was wearing a life jacket, swam toward Titlow Beach uninjured, where BNSF Railways conductor Trevor Smith helped him out of the water.
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“I was just glad that we could stop and help someone in need,” Smith said via email.
Smith and his engineer, Tim Kurriger, saw the man in the water as they passed under the Tacoma Narrows bridges, waving his hands at the train.
The man was struggling to stay afloat, so Smith got into the water and pulled him to shore.
“Once he caught his breath, he said that he was in the water for 30 or so minutes and glad that we stopped because he wasn’t going to last much more,” Smith said.
They then walked about half a mile to meet firefighters, he said.
Destiny retrieved the 17-foot aluminum boat and brought it back to the Narrows Marina.
“It was a nice outcome,” Meinecke said. “Everything seems like it’s worked out.”
Crews from Tacoma Fire, West Pierce Fire & Rescue and Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One responded to the incident.