Port Arthur Police celebrate officer for jumping into water to save man who could not swim

Published 7:50 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

On March 25 at approximately 4:24 a.m., the Port Arthur Police Department received a 9-1-1 call from a frantic woman who had driven off the roadway in the 4400 block of Memorial Boulevard (southbound) at the 73 (eastbound) clover leaf exit.

Her vehicle entered the canal and was sinking.

The young woman was able to free herself from the vehicle and swim to safety. Her boyfriend was following behind her at the time and stopped to assist. The young man entered the water, despite not knowing how to swim, to save the female.
The man reached the car and realized the female had swum to safety. The man climbed atop the vehicle but the vehicle was going under.

The Port Arthur Police Department released this picture from the scene of last month’s water rescue.

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Several officers arrived on scene by this time, including rookie Officer Matthew Munselle, who is in training.

Munselle saw the vehicle was sinking and heard the man screaming that he did not know how to swim. The young lady was also hollering to officers that he did not know how to swim.

Munselle removed his vest, duty belt and boots and went into the water to save the man. Munselle swam to the man who was treading water because by now the vehicle was completely submerged.

Munselle spoke to the man in an effort to calm him, letting him know he would get him safely to shore and instructing the man to assist him by kicking while the officer swam with him back to shore.

Other officers also entered the water to assist; however, Munselle and the young man safely exited the water on the opposite bank of where they had entered.

“The young man was grateful for Officer Munselle’s heroic efforts in saving him from drowning,” a PAPD statement said. “The man was not injured nor was the female or any officer involved. We are very proud of all the officers who responded and of Officer Munselle’s life-saving efforts.”