Mineral Wells Area News

Millsap Man Drowns Fishing The Brazos River

Millsap Man Drowns Fishing The Brazos River
June 16
11:00 2021
MWFD Rescue Boat

Around 2pm June 15th, an emergency call came in telling dispatchers that a man near the Highway 180 West Brazos River bridge was missing. The caller alerted officials that his friend had been wading in the water while fishing and lost his footing in the swiftly moving current.

Local Game Warden Matt Waggoner said 69-year-old Millsap resident Gary Fleming did not survive the accident. “He was wading through the edge of the water, and we estimate it was running at 1700 cubic feet per second. His friend even told him he needed to stay near the bank, and he agreed. He waded out and ended up in about waste deep water,” said Waggoner. “The current then swept him down the river and the last time Fleming’s friend saw him; he was yelling for help about 150 yards downstream.”

It took about an hour to locate the body which was found about a mile down the river according to officials. Game Wardens first responded with an air boat but were also assisted by Mineral Wells Fire Department’s new swift water inflatable as well as the Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Department.

Mineral Wells Fire Chief Ryan Dunn says the new “rescue boat” that was purchased in 2021 has already been utilized at least 5 times this year on the river or at Lake Mineral Wells. “The ability to quickly launch the rescue boat gives us a chance to get to the victims. Without that ability we would have to reach them by land.” Dunn also said they have about 12 swift-water certified firefighters the community can call upon when needed.

The Brazos River Authority has been issuing warnings and advising people of the dangerous current in the river with all the rainfall received over the last month. At one point, Possum Kingdom Lake had three flood gates open at Morris Sheppard Dam to control water levels upstream. While all of those the gates are no longer open, floating debris and swift current conditions continue to be a concern along the river.