WEYMOUTH (CBS) – A quick-thinking dad saved his daughter from their runaway boat at the South Shore Yacht Club over the weekend.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Bruce Williams and his 12-year-old daughter Emily were preparing to return to the dock in a small, motorized inflatable raft Saturday.

The boat jerked and the Emily went overboard.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

Instinct took over and Williams jumped in after Emily. The boat was still in gear and moments later it started heading straight for the father and daughter.

“I actually thought I was going to die,” Emily told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Monday.

Williams pushed Emily underwater while he wrestled to keep the boat off of them.

“I saw the thing coming back, I just pushed her down. I got my head down as much as I could too, till the boat was overhead, and then a couple of times I was actually pushing the boat off, trying to get out of the way,” Williams said.

He was hit by the boat’s propeller several times.   Williams ended up with a gash to the head and several cuts on his hand.

Emily thought her father might die because of all the blood.

But Williams said that didn’t matter.  He had only one thing on his mind.

“Just make sure my girl was alright. That’s all you care about,” Williams said.

“Most fathers would do what they have to do to save their daughters.”

“I think he’s a hero because of all he did,” Emily said.

WBZ’s Kim Tunnicliffe contributed to this report

Comments (22)
  1. Bill says:

    Outboard engines have a lanyard you attach to your wrist so if this happens it pulls out killing the engine. Now he is a hero for not operating the boat properly?……Good job!

    1. take it easy says:

      Give the guy a break! Anybody can make a mistake but only a hero can make it right.
      Hope your life is prefect.

    2. jdensler says:

      The lanyard is to be connected to a boat operator’s belt or lifejacket harness. If this was done, there would not have been a problrm11 WBZTV should have used this story to show the proper use of the lanyard that was shown on the boat. ANY USPS OR uscg aUX INSTRUCTOR COULD HAVE PROVIDED PROPER INFORMATION ON THE USE OF THE LANYARD.
      Jdensler
      Certified USPS Instructor

  2. Ed Dracut says:

    Bill you are 1000% correct. Mass needs a boaters saftey course just like New Hampshire has. This was totaly preventable!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. CPTRON says:

    Would you jump out of your moving car if someone fell out. How is this guy a hero. He recovered from his stupidity. Thats about all.

  4. Boater says:

    Bill – Ed
    older outboard motors do not have lanyard kill switches. Do you know the exact age, make and model of the motor? The article does not state that. So Bill your assumption has no basis in this case.
    While I agree training is important – let us not jump to conclusions. Neither of you were in the boat – nor was it your daughter. And if you read the article – his Daughter thinks he is a hero – and I think that is all that matters to her and her father and the rest of the Williams family. A happy ending to something that could have had a much worse outcome.

    1. petem says:

      Thanks for a reasonable perspective Boater

    2. Ken Raymond says:

      This outboard has a lanyard kill switch. I saw it on tv 4 boston dangling from the engine while they were showing a piece of her bathing suit hanging from the prop. Some hero!

  5. petem says:

    It never fails to amaze me how quickly the trolls come out. IF he didn’t do something correctly, some constructive criticism is in order. Rather than pile on, maybe a word of congratulations that his daughter and he are OK. Haters love to hate…

  6. swim69 says:

    How pathetic that all the “experts” had to comment first. I’m commenting here to say thank you WBZ for doing a feel-good story, and I for one am glad that both the father and daughter are alright. Perhaps he could have had a kill-switch lanyard, or he could have maneuvered the boat around his daughter, but as a few commenters pointed out: his instinct took over and he jumped out into the water to make sure that his daughter didn’t DROWN. He didn’t know that the boat was going to come about. Come on people – let a “happy” story be told once in a while and stop ripping everything apart. Glad they are both ok!

    1. Ken Raymond says:

      I’m glad they are both OK too. What I think is pathetic is people that don’t want to confuse the issue with facts. If the proper safety procedures and equipment had been used this wouldn’t have been on the news at all. By the way, all uncontrolled boats circle.

  7. Frank in Fall River says:

    “…Haters love to hate…”

    I’m not hating. But this is a perfect example of why you should use your kill switch. Also why the dad didn’t cut the engine before going over the side is a little mystifying. And while it’s not stated I suspect neither was wearing a life vest. I’m glad he and his daughter are OK. Others would be wise to take this as a lesson in why safety equipment and procedures re important. This could easily have ended very badly.

    1. hello143 says:

      they did you a kill switch for your information … but it was unknowingly not attatched properly … and yes the daughter was wearing a life jacket …

  8. Ed dracut says:

    99% of your older motors are junk now because of the ethenol in the gas. It destroys the gaskets in the carbs the cost is rather high to rebuild the carbs.. I did make an assumption about the lanyard. But I would bet you money it had a kill switch. I have hydrolic steering on my boat. If I go over board when the boat is running and I don’t have the lanyard attached what ever speed my boat is going is how fast it hits something. That is why when ever my big motor is running I have my life jacket on and kill switch attached. it’s not about attacking someone. It’s about trying to save someones life. If I was him I would have done the same thing in that situation.

  9. Roper89 says:

    swim 69 : Was she wearing her required life vest? Drowing wouldn”t be an issue then now would it. Then the whole panic and poor judgement of jumping out of the boat wouldn’t of happened. If instinct is to protect then she would have been wearing a life vest.
    Just saying.

  10. sailor98 says:

    none of you know what actually happened personally .. so dontt judge

  11. boater123 says:

    none of you were their personally .. please stop judging you dont know what exactly happened

  12. Jdensler says:

    At 12 years old, Emily needs to have a Mass Boating Certificate to legally operate a power boat. The course specifically covers the use of the safety lanyard, especially when there is only one person in a boat!!!

    USPS Certified Instructor

  13. Jenn says:

    jdensler. Emily does not need a certificate to operate a boat in Massachusetts if an adult is aboard. Only if she is operating the boat by herself.

  14. Amherst says:

    The Dad was not in the raft- he was on the dock

    1. Amherst again says:

      I looked again- Seems every news story has a different version-
      Emily in raft/ out of raft
      Dad in raft/ Dad on Deck

      Hard to know what really happened!

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