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UPDATE: 11 rescued when house boat tips on Mississippi River

UPDATE: 11 rescued when house boat tips on Mississippi River

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Submerged houseboat

A houseboat is seen mostly submerged on the main channel of the Mississippi River Monday afternoon, May 27, 2013, when 11 people were rescued after the boat came under distress below Lock and Dam 7 at Dresbach. Minn. (PETER THOMSON photo)

DRESBACH, Minn. --- Eleven people were thrown into the Mississippi River on Monday evening when their houseboat lost power and was flung over the roller gates at Lock and Dam No. 7.

Six people were taken to Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, but all are expected to live, authorities said at the scene near Dresbach, Minn. The other five did not need medical treatment.

Everyone on the boat was accounted for, authorities said. All 11 were out of the water when emergency personnel arrived at 5:30 p.m. to find the boat already halfway under water.

La Crescent Fire Chief John Meyer said the boat was sent over the dam when it lost power. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the party tried to drop anchor.

All 11 passengers ended up in the water. Authorities at the scene declined to identify them.

John Rieple, captain of the Best Dam Fishing Float, was shuttling some customers back from his fishing boat when he noticed debris coming from the dam. He rescued five of the victims when he found them clinging to a lifeboat nearby.

“This river is a lot stronger than people think,” Rieple said. “We’re glad they’re all safe and alive.”

A family of four died at the same dam in 2007 when their boat lost power and they were swept under water.

EARLIER STORY

DRESBACH, Minn. --- Eleven people were rescued from the Mississippi River early Monday evening when a house boat tipped near Lock and Dam No. 7 at Dresbach, Minn.

Six people were taken to the hospital, but all are expected to live, authorities said at the scene. The other five did not need medical treatment.

Everyone on the boat is accounted for, police said.

Early indications are that power failed on the boat, which was swept into the rollers at the lock and dam.

At least some of those sent overboard were rescued at a nearby fishing pier, witnesses said.

A family of four drowned near the same place in 2007 when their boat lost power.

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