Man describes saving woman from burning boat at Concord Marina

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It was supposed to be a quiet first week on the job, but now an East Tennessee man is being called a hero after a near-tragic accident at Concord Marina on Sunday.

Matt Lee said he was filling up a fuel tank when the owner started his boat, the hatch blew off and the engine burst into flames.

What he did after that, Lee said was just instinct.

"I turned around and I ran, and I shut the (fuel) pumps off," Lee said. "I came back, I grabbed onto the boat and jumped over it... grabbed her like this with one arm and I got her far enough where I could get her from her knees and I picked her up."

Lee saved Nancy Longinaker's life.

"I didn't think for one second. I just heard her scream and jumped on (the boat)," he said.

With that kind of bravery at such a young age, harbormaster James Bisch says he reeled in a good one.

"The good thing that came out of this was Matt was down there when it happened because if I were to have another person down there I don't know if they would have been able to do the same thing," Bisch said.

But being a hero comes with a price.

"I actually haven't been sleeping very well. Just replaying it. Thinking about if I could have reacted faster and what actually could have happened," Lee said.

Longinaker was taken from UT Medical Center to Vanderbilt's burn unit Monday where she continues treatment. Lee plans to visit her when she is released.

Lee also plans to continue his career with boats. When he graduates UT, he wants to move to Florida and work with super yachts.