Witnesses describe tragic scene on Table Rock Lake
Trent Behr and his girlfriend Allison Lester don’t know how many victims of the boating tragedy on Table Rock Lake were wearing life jackets, but they are sure that at least one woman was not.
Lester, 20, not only was on site when the duck boat when down Thursday evening but ran to help rescue one of the victims from the water. Seventeen people died and at least seven people were injured.
Behr said he was prepared to perform CPR on the woman, but a paramedic was on the scene by the time the woman was taken from the water, unconscious.
“She was pregnant,” Lester said.
The couple explained that they had come down from Sioux City, Iowa, on Wednesday night to spend time with Lester’s aunt, who has a home at the lake. On Thursday, they had spent time at a local water park. They then boarded a showboat that was scheduled to sail out into the lake. They were to have dinner and watch a show.
“The boat never left the dock,” Lester said.
Instead the water on the lake turned turbulent. The couple saw the two duck boats struggling as soon as they boarded the showboat. They watched from the railing, afraid for those on board.
“When we first got on, we looked out the window and we saw them,” Behr said. “They looked like they were going to go down.”
Behr shot some video with his cellphone, but they returned to their seats, afraid that a tragedy was about to unfold.
“We don’t really want to watch this anymore,” Lester said they thought.
Within minutes, Behr said, the captain of the showboat began to yell for his crew. He alerted them that one of the duck boats had capsized. People were tossed into the water. Behr and Lester ran to the railing again, then down to the first level of the showboat to see if they could help. They saw crew from the showboat jump into the water to try to rescue people.
Behr said he saw a green purse float to the top of the water. They saw the woman floating, unconscious. The crew, Behr and other helped drag the woman from the water. Medics rushed her to the hospital. The couple said they have no idea if she lived or was injured.
“We don’t know. She was just unconscious,” Behr said.
“We’re shaken,” Lester said. “We’re just standing there, like ‘How could this have happened.’ Surreal.
”That could be us out there,” Behr said. “That could be anyone.”