Father makes daring dive to save daughter from boat propeller, gets severely injured
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A St. Joseph family had a frightening experience on a rented boat while on vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks. Now they’re warning others to be extra cautious on the water this summer.
David Trammell has been in the hospital since the boating accident happened July 11, and he won’t get out for a few more days. He’s recovering from injuries he got from a boat propeller when his daughter says he saved her life.
It was the family’s first time on a speed boat together, and they had only been out tubing for an hour when 12-year-old Lily was climbing into the boat.
“My foot slipped and hit the propeller,” said Lily.
“All of a sudden she was like, ‘I got hit, hit, I’m hit,’” Deidre, mom, said. “And she says, ‘Daddy don’t let me go under the boat!’”
David didn’t hesitate to jump into action.
“So I jumped in between the motor and her and pushed her away from the motor, and it pushed me toward the motor,” David said.
The accident investigation found that because of equipment failure, the boat’s motor was still turning. When David went under the boat, the motor sliced his leg. He was badly injured but tried to keep everyone calm while they raced back to shore for help.
“He sits down next to Lily and the whole time he’s smiling at Lily saying, ‘It’s okay, everything will be fine,’” Deidre said.
Lily had 28 stitches in her foot. David’s injuries required several surgeries and might need more. The doctors say he’ll need three to six months before he’s fully recovered. Lily says she can’t even think about what could have happened if her dad hadn’t jumped in the water.
“He’s my hero,” she said with a huge smile.
“He saved my baby,” says Deidre. “He’s amazing, the best dad ever.”
But dad says he only did what any parent would do. The family says they hope their story serves as a warning to others.
“If I ever rented a boat again, I would do a better check of who I rented from and see what kind of safety record they have with their equipment,” David said.
But for mom, the story is also a reminder to hold your loved ones close.
“You don’t know when it could be taken away,” she said. “Something could happen.”
Since David Trammel can’t work for several months and doesn’t have insurance, some friends set up a website to try and help the family out.