Eleven people were rescued from the Mississippi River early Monday night when a house boat tipped its passengers into the murky water near Dresbach, Minn., roughly 140 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, the La Crosse Tribune reports.
The Star Tribune spoke with John Rieple, 51, who threw out life jackets to five of the boat's passengers found clinging to an upside-down lifeboat. Four of the passengers--a man, two women and a 14-year-old girl--were pulled onto Rieple's pontoon.
An Army Corp of Engineers boat rescued the fifth victim, an older man who gripped onto the lifeboat motor.
“The older man clinging to the life boat was in shock ... The ladies were doing quite well,” Rieple said.
The remaining passengers made it to shore on their own. Officials said six of the 11 passengers were taken to the hospital, but all are expected to survive.
Early indications suggest the boat's power failed, the La Crosse Tribune reported. The drifting boat was then swept over the roller gates at Lock and Dam No. 7.
The Star Tribune reports a a family of four died at the same lock and dam in 2007, when their boat lost power and was sucked into the rolling waters.
Lock and Dam No. 7: