Man stranded in river waters thanfkul for life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2008

NATCHEZ — After spending seven hours in the cold waters of Old River Richard Taylor thought he was near the end of his life.

“I had already begun to shake from hypothermia,” he said.

Taylor and his son, Randal, were the two men Herman Nettles rescued from Old River two weeks ago after their boat capsized.

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When the story originally published in The Natchez Democrat Nettles identified the man as Richard Murray, not Taylor.

Nettles also thought Taylor lived in Monroe; Taylor actually lives in Start, La.

But Taylor’s just glad Nettles found them when he did.

“I really think the Lord Jesus sent him to us,” he said.

Taylor said after making a trip to Glasscock Island to retrieve two ATVs, their boat took on water and capsized on the return trip.

Taylor said he and his son floated in the current, resting on the hull of the capsized boat, until they found a tree to climb into.

Before they found that tree, Taylor’s son, Randal, swam to another tree with a rope but was too weak to tow his father and the boat to the tree.

The two men continued to drift for hours.

They were periodically rained on and constantly chilled by strong gusts of wind.

Taylor said during his time in the water he began to contemplate his life.

“I thought about things I shouldn’t have done, I thought about things I didn’t do that I should have,” he said. “I thought a lot about my wife.”

When the two men were finally in sight of the fishing camps in Fairview they began to shout for help.

Taylor said a north wind was blowing them in the direction of a tree, they used a sheet of wood as a sail to direct the boat.

“It looked like it was made for us,” he said. “I believe the Lord knew what he was doing.”

Taylor said he and his son sat in the tree for a long time before they were found.

Taylor later learned his son was contemplating swimming to a near by camp before dark.

Taylor said he was looking for a strong branch to tie himself to, so his body could be found.

Then they heard the sound of Nettles’ boat motor.

After calling for help they were able to direct Nettles to their location.

“It looked like the Lord Jesus was sitting on his shoulders telling him which way to go,” he said.

Nettles took the two men back to his camp where they were warmed, clothed, fed and returned to their vehicle.

Taylor, in his 80s, said the experience was life altering.

“The Lord gave me an attitude adjustment,” he said. “And he sent that man to save our lives.”