Stranded in Lake, Woman Treads Water for Hours

Woman swimming in lake left behind by party boat

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kirstyn Blackwood, 20, was stranded in Lake Ray Hubbard for hours Friday night after she jumped from a party boat for a swim and was left behind. (Published Monday, Jul 8, 2013)

    A Rockwall woman who struggled for hours to stay afloat in Lake Ray Hubbard in the dark says she is thankful to be alive.

    A party boat accidentally left Kirstyn Blackwood, 20, on Friday night after she jumped into the lake for a swim.

    Blackwood saw the boat drive away as night started to fall.

    "I just started crying, and I thought that was my last chance of hope to be saved, so I thought I was either going to die or just keep on trying to swim and make it through," she said. "It was really scary."

    Blackwood fought to stay afloat, treading water for at least two hours. She wasn't wearing a life jacket, and she was alone.

    "I hope my story influences young people close to my age that go out there and you don't realize something like that could happen," she said.

    Her mother, Glenita, said her daughter is a fighter.

    "God gets all the glory because he was her life jacket, and angels were in the water with my daughter," she said.

    Kirstyn Blackwood's friends called for help 10 minutes later after they realized she wasn't on the boat.

    Dozens of Dallas fire and police rescue crews used sonar equipment and helicopter spotlights to comb the water until they heard her cries for help. Crews found her when she was just 200 yards from the safety of the shore.

    "Oh, we were overwhelmed, really, by that amount of time," Dallas Fire-Rescue Lt. Matt Leatherwood said. "Your thoughts begin to drift towards this becoming a recovery as opposed to a rescue."

    Blackwood sustained some minor injuries. She has seven stitches on her chest, a reminder that it could have been worse.

    "I do feel like I am a walking miracle -- very, very thankful," she said.

    The Blackwoods said they are not mad at the party boat and will not press any charges.