At Least One Dead After Double-Decker Party Boat Capsized, Authorities Say

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Authorities announced that one person has died after a double-deck party boat capsized Saturday night on Lake Conroe in Texas.

The Lake Conroe Queen, a reproduction of an 1860s double-deck sternwheeler paddleboat that can carry up to 60-passengers, capsized due to a thunderstorm that caused high winds and waves, KTRK reported. The boat was carrying more than 50 passengers when it flipped over at around 8 p.m. Saturday, about 40 minutes into the 90-minute trip, according to KPRC-TV. After it crashed, locals came to the passengers’ aide and saved lives, authorities said.

In total, The Conroe Lake Queen had 53 people aboard when it capsized Saturday, all of whom have since been accounted for, Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office Capt. Joseph Sclider told KHOU. However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department confirmed that one individual in the crash had died, but provided no other details Sunday morning, Fox News reported. Sclider also said that three individuals were taken to the hospital Saturday night, including a man who was suffering a cardiac-related issue, a woman who was “having a panic attack” and her husband, KHOU reported.

Subsequent reporting from KHOU revealed that 80-year-old Karl Kazenberg died at the hospital after the crash.

Locals at a nearby apartment building saw The Conroe Queen capsize and reportedly rushed to help rescue people from the water before first responders arrived. “I think the community coming together before the cops got here really saved a lot of people,” local resident Brock O’Rourke told reporters, according to Fox News.

“It was a nice day. It was pretty calm. All of a sudden, the winds started picking up,” O’Rourke claimed. “Within about five minutes, I think the water was crashing over on the inside and we saw it started tipping a bit. So we decided to walk down here to see if anyone might need some help. By the time we got down here, the boat pretty much capsized and everybody was floating in the water,” he went on to say, according to Fox News.

Other witnesses claimed that four children, including an 18-month-old, were rescued from the capsized boat. Sclider confirmed that children were rescued from The Lake Conroe Queen, but did not divulge how many children were rescued, or their ages. Video footage from the aftermath of the crash showed children accompanying families being bussed back to their vehicles by law enforcement after they were rescued, Fox News reported. (RELATED: Fiery Boat Explosion Leaves 6 Injured On Docks Of Lake Lanier)

“This is the first major catastrophe we’ve had of this size. Luckily, it happened real close to shore,” Montgomery County Pct. 1 Constable’s Office Chief Don Fullen told reporters. “People here at the boat dock and living here in Regency Point were already starting to do rescues when emergency personnel started arriving. So that was saving grace for some of these people.”