Spirit of Dubuque crew helps save capsized boat passengers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Spirit of Dubuque crew helps save capsized boat passengers

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Quick thinking by a group of people on the Mississippi River Saturday may have helped save the lives of six people. Six of seven people were picked up by nearby boats after their boat capsized on the Mississippi River shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday.

One of the boats was the Spirit of Dubuque, which was heading back to the Port of Dubuque Marina after a scenic tour.

Robert Hargraves has worked on the Spirit of Dubuque for a couple of months. He said he noticed that a boat appeared to be sinking due to weight.

"I was watching it and as soon as I saw (it flip), me and the captain were like both together on that one," Hargraves said Sunday.

Hargraves said after seeing the boat flip he alerted the captain of the boat. The two men began rescuing the people.

"My first instinct was to save those people. So I got the captain, I got my harness on, my life jacket and I went on to the gangway and I pulled two people from the river," Hargraves said.

Walt Webster is the co-owner of the Spirit of Dubuque. He said his crew has practiced pulling people out of the river, but has never had to do it in a real life situation.

"We have to do drills for the Coast Guard and this is one of the drills that we have to be able to do and we practiced the drills so it was just kind of normal course of operation," Webster said.

Crew members on the Spirit of Dubuque were assisted by other neighboring boats in helping rescue all six of the boats passengers.

"The best thing that happened was no one was hurt, no one was injured, and there was no loss of life," Webster said.

Nate Johnson with the Iowa DNR confirmed that the accident had happened on Saturday afternoon; however, the Illinois DNR was handling the case. A call to the Illinois DNR about the accident was not returned as of Sunday.

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