Passengers share Okoboji rescue experience

Local News

What began as an enjoyable boat ride across west lake Okoboji Tuesday night quickly turned into a rescue mission when storms swept over the area.

OKOBOJI, Iowa (KCAU) – What began as an enjoyable boat ride across West Okoboji Lake Tuesday night quickly turned into a rescue mission when storms swept over the area.

“I was shaken up really bad I have never experienced anything like that,” said Nick Russell, a passenger on Queen II.

The Queen II, a fixture at Arnolds Park, was returning eight guests from a tour of West Okoboji when the weather took a turn for the worse.

“The weather changes unfortunately pretty drastically last night. When they took off last night, the weather was pretty good, but by the time they had got back, it had turned pretty sharply,” Arnolds Park Amusement Park CEO Jeff Vierkant said.

Around 8 p.m., fire rescue crews were called to the park. The Queen II has lost power and was unable to dock in the storm.

“We’re very grateful for their quick response in keeping our passengers and our crew safe and the wonderful work that they did last night,”said Vierkant.

Arnolds Park/ Okoboji Fire Rescue helped the passengers into the water and then assisted each passenger to shore.

“My step daughter she was the first one off and then we had to get into the water and stuff it was an experience I will say that,” said a passenger on the boat, Jerry Johnson.

The dock behind the Queen II is now broken and the park is evaluating the condition of the boat.

“The captain did report a slight malfunction in one of the engines as he was trying dock the boat. We are still investigating what that is,” said Vierkant.

The passengers aboard the Queen II said they would do it again.

“You never know what is going to happen with the weather, so just plan ahead next time and go from there. But I would definatly recommend coming back,” said Paige Reiser, a passenger on the boat.

All passengers received refunds and free family park passes after last night’s scare. No one was injured.

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