Coast Guard, tour boat crew work to free grounded vessel

Showboat Branson Belle

Showboat Branson Belle

St. LOUIS — The Coast Guard and the crew of the tour boat, Branson Belle, are monitoring weather and environmental status for favorable conditions that would allow the crews to safely free the vessel from its grounded position in Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Mo., Sunday.

After being freed, the showboat will be moored to a dock 500 yards from its current position for further Coast Guard inspection.

Numerous local, state agencies and volunteers led by the Western Taney County Fire Department completed the rescue of the last of the 567 passengers and 76 crew members at approximately 11:30 a.m., from the grounded vessel.

“The entire rescue evolution went much faster than expected,” said Capt. Steve Hudson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River.  “On-scene commander Chief Bruce Bjorg of the Western Taney County Fire Department led a superb operation ensuring the safe evacuation of all personnel with no injuries.”

The following agencies and individuals assisted in the rescue operations. Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri State Water Patrol Division, Western Taney County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department and Southern Stone County, Taney County Ambulance, St John’s Hospital, Scott Brothers Excavating, State Park Marina, Staff from Herschend Family Entertainment, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary among many other agencies, while nearby local residents provided shelter and refreshments to emergency responders during the evolution.

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