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Houseboat goes over Dresbach Dam, 11 people on board

Published On: May 27 2013 06:58:06 PM CDT   Updated On: May 28 2013 02:16:41 PM CDT

A houseboat went over one of the lock gates at Lock and Dam #7 at Dresbach late Monday afternoon, sending all 11 people on board into the water.

The La Crescent Fire Chief says the call came in just before 5:30 p.m.

He says many were rescued by people at the nearby boat landing and lock and dam.

Everyone was quickly accounted for and out of the water, even before some rescue crews arrived. "It appears to me that the lock, the people at the lock and the dam got most of the people out.  It's a good thing, it could have been real nasty, the water is cold right now, and it could have been a real disaster, so when we heard that everyone was accounted for, that was a blessing," said La Crescent Fire Chief John Meyer.

Tri-State Ambulance says they transported six people to the hospital, although their injuries weren't serious.

Dive crews tied up the boat a short ways down the river with the hopes that they would be able to salvage it. The houseboat could be seen near the shore with only the top visible in the water.

Officials say the preliminary investigation shows the houseboat had electrical and mechanical problems that caused its motor to fail.

Winona County Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude told KAGE the captain and another employee of Mississippi River Rental were showing the group of nine how to operate the boat when the motor quit. The group had intended to rent the boat for a week. At least some of them are from Grafton.