Moreauville man saved after boat accident

Mississippi agents in "right place at the right time."


 James White can laugh about his near-death experience now, but when his 16-foot boat was circling him like a hungry shark in the angry waters of the Mississippi River on Good Friday, it was the most frightening time of his life.
White, 66, of Moreauville was taking his boat and new 40-hp motor out for a spin, checking for good spots for trot lines on the Mississippi.
“I basically did everything you’re not supposed to do,”  White said. 
Actually, there appeared to be nothing White could have done to avoid what happened that morning.
As he was motoring down the swollen, turbulent Mississippi, White hit a submerged log.
“It tore the engine from my hand and threw me into the water,” White said. “The engine’s throttle went wide open instead of shutting down. It went into a tight spin around me.”
M/Sgt. Gary Crum, of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks,  was nearby and maneuvered his boat between White and the menacing “ghost boat.”
While Crum rescued White from the 52-foot deep river, Maj. Lane Ball, Pvt. Dustin Vanderslice and M/Sgts. Jimmy Huston and Don McDaniel arrived on scene and secured White’s boat.
"This could have ended in tragedy, but fortunately this individual will be spending Easter with his family," Col. Steve Adcock said after the accident. Adcock, the MDWFP chief of Law Enforcement, said he was proud of the officers who “were in the right place at the right time to execute this rescue and prevent loss of life.”
“I was pretty lucky,” White said. “I have been at this for several years and this is the first time I’ve been thrown out of the boat. It was a freak accident -- the kind that you think will never happen to you and then, after it has, you wonder how you let it happen.”
White said he has boated and fished on that stretch of river for many years. He is familiar with the river because he is a tow boat pilot.
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “I am just so very appreciative of the Mississippi game wardens that were there. All I can say is that the Good Lord wasn’t ready for me yet.”
White said he usually doesn’t see a game warden when he is out on the river, “but I was certainly glad to see one that day.”
White said boaters need to learn from his accident and “be more careful. The Mississippi is extremely high right now.”
He said he will certainly be more careful from now on, and not assume that just because he has had about 50 years of accident-free boating, that accidents can’t happen to him.
“I really couldn’t have asked for anything more from the Mississippi game wardens,” he said. “They were quick, professional, took care of everything that needed to be done.
“I’m just glad that the only thing hurt was my feelings and my pride,” he added with a laugh.


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