Families rescued from sinking boat
Two families had to be rescued from the Chickamauga Lake after storms rolled through the Tennessee Valley for the third night in a row.
The boat took in too much water and started sinking.
The family says the strong winds produced waves on the lake resulting in the boat taking on more water than it could handle. They say it lasted for about 15 minutes, but it seemed much longer.
“We knew it was going to rain, but we didn't know it was severe weather or anything,” said Olivia Russell. “So we came to get under the bridge before it even started raining.”
Both the Russell and Smith families have been on the lake before while it was raining.
Like many other times, they decided to find shelter under the Wolftever Bridge.
“Boats started coming in under the bridge. Then bigger waves started coming over the boat, and over the front of the boat,” said Russell.
Eight people were on the boat when it started sinking.
“All of a sudden I just hear them telling us we got a jump out. It just started drifting over this way, and we tried our best to get it towards the rocks so we could salvage what we could,” said Emy Smith.
The teenagers had to swim to shore.
Some of the teenagers are members of their high school bass team and were comfortable navigating their way to safety.
Olivia Russell says anyone who gets out on the water should be prepared.
“Their dad had been on the water since they were little, and they're almost 50 years old,” said Russell. “So we're not stupid on the lake. They know what they're doing.”
Emy Smith has spent years with her family on this lake.
“I never freak out like this, but it just caught me by surprise,” said Smith.
Everyone is okay. The families say this won’t keep them off the lake. A towboat came out to help remove the water from the boat and pullit to shore.