Dramatic water rescue at Charleston Harbor going viral

Dramatic water rescue at Charleston Harbor going viral

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A dramatic water rescue caught on camera is going viral.

It all started when a distress call went out of the Charleston Harbor.

For Matt Balassome, a Water Taxi captain, Saturday started out business as usual.

Around 11 a.m., Balassome had just boarded eight passengers at the Charleston Harbor and Marina in Mount Pleasant when he heard a distress call.

"The call that we got this weekend happened to be 200 yards from where I was," said Balassome."We knew we were the closest one

"Nobody knew what was going on really because it was within a minute of being on the boat, that's when we got the call," said Kyndal Hartline, a first mate about the Water Taxi.

"I yelled pretty loud at our guests, I said,'I want everybody in the back of the boat to stay clear of what we're going to do," Balassome said.

Just minutes later, the Water Taxi crew spotted three men in the water.

One of the men apparently had a medical emergency and fell overboard. The two with him jumped in the water to keep him afloat.

"They looked frightened for sure. Struggling, trying to keep him afloat," Hartline said.

"They were trying to hold themselves up and hold on to this 200 plus pound guy that was unconscious," Balassome said."I tried to lift him and I got him a couple - two feet out of the water and that was as far as this back was going to take it."

Balassome called for strong men, and his passengers jumped in to help.

Once on the boat, the unconscious man came to, but still in need of medical attention, the Water Taxi hauled back to the marina where EMS would meet them.

Balassome's crew says without their captain's leadership the rescue could have not had such a happy ending.

"He could not have handled it better," Hartline said."His guidance was what got everybody through the situation. Without him, I don't know what would have happened."

"Our industry is fun, that's what we do. We're out here to have fun but it can get real serious real quick," Balassome said.

The Water Taxi spokesman tells us while it's a business, those who operate on the water are also a tight community and this was just part of their duty to their fellow boaters.

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