Release Date: 04/03/2007

Two men were rescued by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents on March 16 after their boat had capsized in rough water on Toledo Bend Lake.

Layton Britt, of Noble, and Eric Lowring, of Zwolle, were fishing in the Texas Oilman's Bass Invitational Tournament when their boat began taking on water from high waves.  The boat began to sink and eventually capsized around 11:45 a.m. 

Britt and Lowring put on their lifejackets and swam to a nearby tree.  Lowring was able to climb up the tree and stand on a limb, while Britt held on to the base of the tree. 

At 12:20 p.m., Lowring was able to make contact with the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office with the aid of a cell phone that he had sealed in a plastic bag.  He informed them that they had launched their boat at Bison's Landing on the Louisiana side of the lake, but they were now on the Texas side across from Wright's Landing. 

When Texas authorities were contacted, they advised that they were unable to respond in a timely manner.  The Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office then contacted LDWF Enforcement Senior Agent Maury Leone and Agent Jared Adams.  By 1 p.m. Leone and Adams had launched their boat and had begun to search for the two men. 

Due to the extremely rough conditions, Senior Agent Ronnie Robertson was called to assist with a larger boat and he also began a search for the fishermen.  Leone and Adams located Britt and Lowring about 300 yards from the Texas shoreline.  Despite the rough water, the agents were able to help the two fishermen into their boat and get them safely to shore around 2:30 p.m.  Due to the fact that Britt had been in the cold water for some time, an ambulance was called as a precaution.  He was treated for mild hypothermia and released by emergency medical workers at the scene.

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or klacaze@wlf.louisiana.gov.