Water Taxi captain hailed a hero for rescuing man from water

Water Taxi captain hailed a hero for rescuing man from water

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A dramatic water rescue caught on camera is going viral and a local water taxi captain is being hailed a hero.

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. He said normally the calls are from hundreds of miles away. But this one, was just 200 yards.

"We knew we were the closest one," said Balassome.

Within seconds, Balassome said he yelled at all of the passengers to get to the back of the boat.

"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, first mate, Water Taxi.

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," said Hartline.

Balassome said the two men were trying to hold themselves up and hold on to the man who was unconscious.

'I tried to lift him and I got him a couple of feet out of the water and that was as far as this back was going to take it," said Balassome.

Balassome called for strong men and his passengers jumped in to help. Once on the boat, the unconscious man came to but still needed medical attention.

The water taxi hauled back to the marina where EMS would meet them.

"For me, it's an adrenaline rush, but its time to go to work," said Balassome.

Balassome's crew said without their captains leadership - this rescue could have not had such a happy ending.

"He could not have handled it better," said Hartline. "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," said Balassome.

Balassome said even though their Water Taxi is 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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