Hair-raising photos show a boat perilously close to plunging over the edge of a Texas dam — because the passengers were too busy gossiping, police and rescue officials said.
The electric boat, which was carrying four women, was saved from the edge of Longhorn Dam in east Austin on Thursday after it got swept up in a strong current at Lady Bird Lake, a reservoir along the Colorado River, KTBC reported.
“They approached the dam, weren’t paying attention, they were talking to each other,” Austin Police Officer Brad Smith told the station.
A stunning image shared by Austin-Travis County EMS showed the boat’s bow jutting out from the dam’s edge just before the women were rescued. A short video clip also showed them wearing life jackets that were lowered down to them.
James Kane, who works at Retro Boat Rentals in Austin, said he rushed to the scene after getting a distress call from the passengers — and quickly tied a rope to the endangered vessel as it approached the edge of the dam.
“They were pretty calm on the phone and I hopped in a boat and headed down there,” Kane told The Post on Friday. “Once I got a half-mile away, I could see them and I called 911. I went down there and hooked up to them and assessed the situation as they were pretty close to falling off the side.”
Despite being just inches away from a 15-foot drop below, Kane said the women seemed eerily undisturbed.
“It was kind of weird, they were calm the whole time,” Kane, 30, told The Post. “I don’t know if they didn’t know what to do or if they couldn’t see the other side of the dam.”
The boat rental worker said the vessel got caught up in a current after the women went past signs telling boaters to keep at least 100 yards away from the dam’s edge.
“There’s no way [to miss them],” he said of the warning signs. “It’s kind of like going down the wrong way of an offramp on a highway.”
Kane said he kept his line tied to the boat while holding his vessel in reverse until rescuers arrived.
Austin-Travis County EMS officials later responded to the scene after getting multiple 911 calls of a boat “up against the dam” that looked as if it was moments away from going over.
None of the women needed medical attention after the frightening incident that could’ve ended in disaster, police said.
“If you look on the other side of Longhorn Dam, there is actually concrete on the very bottom, so if you fell off, you’d end up hitting concrete,” Smith told KTBC.
Smith also praised Kane’s quick thinking for assisting in the rescue.
“Props to him for helping out with that,” Smith told the station.
Kane, of Austin, said the unexpected rescue came just two months into his job at Retro Boat Rentals, where a 90-minute jaunt costs $150.
“I’m just glad I was there,” Kane said of the rescue effort. “I’m just glad I was the one taking the phone call.”