Showboat Branson Belle Passengers Saved after Being Stranded Overnight (Video From Branson Belle)
Jennifer Moore Report: KSMU
A rescue is underway of over 600 passengers who were stranded Saturday night and into Sunday on a showboat that ran aground on Table Rock Lake due to high winds. Passengers, including children and the elderly, are disembarking a few at a time onto All-Terrain Vehicles across a man-made berm built in the middle of the night to reach the ship. KSMU's Jennifer Moore has this report.
As the winter winds raged Saturday night, nine passengers who had pre-existing conditions were slowly and carefully loaded onto a small, US Coast Guard boat. The other passengers tried to get as comfortable as possible for what was going to be a long night.
The Branson Belle cruise ship took off at 4 p.m. Saturday on Table Rock Lake and was supposed to be just over a two-hour trip.
Sergeant Dan Bracker with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the boat had a problem with its propeller. After the propeller began working again, excessive winds caused the ship to drift, and the hull hit the ground about 50 yards from shore. A tugboat was unable to do much good.
“They’ve knocked down trees with a bulldozer, built a path from a piece of private property here on the Corps property to the shoreline," Bracker said.
Rescuers battled high winds, gusts of snow, and sub-freezing temperatures to reach the passengers.
The Branson Belle is owned by Herschend Family Entertainment Coporation, and it operates under the arm of Silver Dollar City Attractions.