By Lindsay Starr Platt
Sunday afternoon four Boy Scouts went out to practice sailing on Belton Lake and came home heroes. The boys were sailing with Tex Mitchell when he suffered a heart attack, the boy’s, ages 11-14, were able to give him first aid, dock the boat and get medical help that saved his life.
“We were sailing a regatta with Lake Belton Yacht Club (LBYC) – Regional Sailing and Boating Center to help us get ready for a regatta in Houston. I started feeling really overheated or thought I was having an asthma attack. I used an inhaler and did not help,” said Tex Mitchell, Austin resident, LBYC Board Member. “I was getting weak, dizzy and tingly. I sat down and the boat started drifting off. I told the boys to take over the boat. They dropped the sails and got the motor running and got it away from the shore.”
Mitchell’s sons Tex Mitchell IV had only been sailing for a year and Alex Mitchell only a few months were able to take control of the boat and get the motor running. Mitchell’s sons had never had lessons on using the motor on a sailboat to get it into the slip, but they were able to dock the boat and tie it off, from the only lesson having ever been was “just watching” from their dad.
“I had earned the “Motorboat Badge” this summer, and also learned from my dad,” said Tex Mitchell IV, Boy Scout, Troop 410, Austin. “I am “Life Rank” right now and will be working on my “Eagle” soon.”
The scouts kept treating Mitchell for heat exhaustion. When his symptoms seemed to get worse they started treating him for heat stroke. They kept him calm and cool and poured water on his body and shaded his body by the sail. They even removed their life jackets and used them to fan Mitchell as they made their way back towards Frank’s Marina. During this time some boaters on board boats had decided to go for a swim. Diners at Dead Fish Grill had spotted the board boats tipping and boaters in the water they called 911 to report a possible drowning.
“I think if we had known dad was having a heart attack, we would have been scared or nervous. Dad kept saying ‘I am going to be okay.’ He got weaker and couldn’t hold himself up. I took the helm and Alex (Graves) jumped off the boat to get help. Jake (Yepez) and Aaron (Walls) were still doing first-aid. He couldn’t feel his hands and he was really warm. When we got to the marina an ambulance was there and we rode with him to the hospital,” said Tex Mitchell IV.
The ambulance that took Mitchell to the hospital had shown up to the marina to help with the drowning victims that were reported from Dead Fish Grill. When the ambulance arrived at Frank’s Marina they learned there were no drowning victims, but there was another medical crisis at the scene. Because the ambulance was already there Mitchell was able to get to the hospital in time and had emergency surgery. Two of three arteries in Mitchell’s heart were not working and tissue was dying. Scott & White placed two stents in his heart and will be on medication and is expected to live a healthy life.
“It was scary in the ambulance. They wanted to cut his shirt open and he said, “No, it is my sailing shirt. And Mr. Tex was upset we had taken our life jackets off to fan him,” said Jake Yepez, 11, Austin resident.