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Storms capsize one houseboat, swamp another on Lake Cumberland

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 11:00 PM EDT
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JAMESTOWN, Ky. (WKYT) - Monday evening, a severe storm blew through parts of Russell County, bringing strong winds and torrential rainfall. For those at Lake Cumberland, they said it was one of the worst storms they’ve experienced in years.

“The winds were just back and forth everywhere, the rain was hectic, you could barely see 20 feet in front of you,” Daleyn Emerson said.

Winds were so strong that water on Lake Cumberland swamped one houseboat that had to pull onto shore for safety and then also capsized another houseboat with six people on board.

Emerson says she had been one of the first ones to call first responders as other marina workers immediately took boats to recuse the family.

“I was actually the one that ran down the dock calling 911 explaining we had someone in the boat, but we didn’t know that they had already been taken out,” Emerson said.

Fortunately, everyone made it out okay from these incidents, but fish and wildlife officials say if they hadn’t been wearing life vests it could have been a much different story.

“Core of the Engineers have a sign down here talking about how many deaths that we had on the lake and how many that were and were not wearing a life jacket and this family paid attention to that sign before they went out on the lake and first thing they thought of when they started seeing bad weather arise is ‘where are the life jackets’ and went ahead and put life jackets on the children and then started finding theirs where they’re really accessible,” Lt. Chris King said.

And for anyone that plans to enjoy some like time this season, Lt. King says it’s crucial to plan ahead and make sure to pay attention to weather as it can change sometimes over a small area.

“This part of the lake may be calm, we leave out and 20 minutes into our trip we find ourself into a storm without checking the weather app or looking into the weather beforehand. You might find yourself in a bad situation,” Lt. King said.

For every person on board a boat, both state and federal laws requires there to be a Type 1, 2, or 3 flotation device and boats over 16 feet in length are required to have a throwable flotation device.

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