Water rescues part of game wardens’ territory

Water rescues part of game wardens’ territory
San Antonio Express-News
Ben Bailey was on his way to take his boat out of the water when he got the call. The Texas game warden changed course with haste. Someone was in trouble. He thought he was responding to an adult in distress, swept away from shore. He knew he had to get there quickly. The waves from passing vessels can prove deadly on an open Lavaca Bay. “The wake from those ships can be as tall as a person,” Bailey said. When he arrived on scene, the game warden was surprised to find an innertube wrapped around a 6-year-old girl, 1,200 yards from shore and in the middle of the Matagorda ship channel. She was crying heavily when he arrived, but Bailey noted it was fortunate she smartly remained in her tube. Bailey gently pulled his boat up next to the little girl and hoisted her aboard. She immediately embraced him. Bailey returned the child to her grandmother where they had been swimming near Magnolia Beach. His work was done. The rescue was a stroke of fate. Water safety, patrols and rescues are a significant part of Bailey’s work life as a game warden in coastal Calhoun County. However, it is up to individual discretion whether the warden patrols that community by truck or boat on a daily basis. The rescued little girl can thank her lucky stars Bailey decided to go with his boat last Tuesday. “It was by chance that I decided to go out on the water that day,” Bailey said. “And I’m glad I did, because there weren’t any other boats out there to get her.” Bailey said that with the busy Fourth of July weekend in the rearview, the bay was empty of anyone who could have assisted the stranded child. The…