I Hope I Never See This Again!
Saturday, May 31st after spending time at Coconuts during our Bar Hop Cruise, we left around 5:00 pm to head back to Camden on the Lake. While approaching the 4mm on the Gravois Arm I saw a Water Patrol boat stopping just ahead of us in the middle of the channel and turning around. At first I wasn’t sure what was going on then I noticed a person wearing a life jacket in the water that the officer was trying to help. As I approached I tried to position my boat where I could assist and then saw that the life jacket had come off the young man. I threw out our life ring and throw rope but there was no attempt to reach it. The officer did everything he could to save the young man including putting his own life in danger by jumping into the water, but was not able to hold on to him. As a note, except in some extreme cases you should never jump in the water to try to save someone drowning. The drowning victim, in attempt to save their own life, will try to climb the rescuer causing both to drown.
The young man was Brandon E. Ellingson, age 20 from Clive, Iowa. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Brandon “was being transported for boating while intoxicated when he stood up in the moving vessel, stepped to the edge starboard side and fell or jumped overboard”.
The Whole Incident Only Lasted Just A Couple Minutes
The Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful place to live and vacation too, but when people drink on the water, no matter how much, always designate a captain and don’t let your friends drive their boat after they have been drinking. The men and women of the Water Patrol at the Lake of the Ozarks are brave and dedicated to the safety on the lake. As I wrote the title for this post, “I Hope I Never See This Again”, I think about how easily this could have been avoided. From the time I saw the Water Patrol boat stopping until it was all over, only a couple of minutes had passed. Things like this happen very quickly, and any captain before heading out for the day should go over what to do in case of an emergency. Even if you were just out the day before, review safety equipment and what to do in case of an emergency with the passengers. If they are not familiar with your boat or you have moved safety equipment on the boat, it could make the difference between life and death.
Our heart and prayers go out to Brandon, his family and friends.
Jen Hatten says
Jim…I was one of the ladies that was unlucky enough to witness this incident. You were AWESOME and I am so thankful we had such an amazing captain to keep us calm and stopped to help the situation rather than just driving by. It was horrific but definitely a lesson. The entire thing did happen so quickly and I still can’t wrap my brain around it. Thanks for all you did for our group!! I just recommended you to another friend!
Cheryl Thoms says
This is so sad and not shocking to read that you stepped in and tried to help. I hope people read this story and realize that life is so short and not worth risking. If they want to drink and have fun, you offer such a safe and secure means of travel for them to do this responsibly. I will continue to recommend you to my guests and others.
Thank you for trying to keep the lake a safe place to be on! Hope you are having a good summer.