Queen II Experiences Difficulty Docking In Storm Tuesday Night; APO Fire & Rescue Assists In Removing Passengers & Crew

Wed 6-10-2020

(Arnolds Park)-- New details are emerging into an incident Tuesday evening while the Queen II was attempting to dock during a severe thunderstorm at the Arnolds Park water front. 

Arnolds Park-Okoboji Fire Chief Chris Yungbluth says fire and rescue crews were called to the location around 8:18 pm...Queen Incident01 

"Basically the page came across that the boat was disabled and that they needed assistance off loading passengers with the fire boat. Once we got there with the fire boat determined that with the position of the boat and the wind conditions and the weather conditions last night that the fire boat wasn't going to be able to aid with getting the passengers off the boat so we started developing some other plans pretty quickly to try to get the folks off the boat and ultimately decided that pulling them out through the side door and into the water and then assist them to shore was going to be our best bet and quickest route to get them off of the boat. How deep was the water in this area? It was probably, where we were able to get them out with the door that was facing the shoreline, it was probably only waist to mid-chest height for most people anyways."

Yungbluth says the Queen II was in somewhat of a challenging position near the shoreline...Queen Incident02 

"To start with when our fire boat was getting there it looked like it was close to its normal docking position and then the wind pushed it around so it was parallel with the shoreline."

About eight passengers and three crew members were on board at the time. All were safely taken off the boat and no injuries were reported.

Yungbluth says it's his understanding there was a mechanical problem that prevented the boat from safely docking...Queen Incident03 

"That's what I understood, they were having some issues with the power plant on the boat, not able to get much speed out of one side and then one side was completely down for them so they weren't able to steer or get the boat in any position they wanted to at least under power."

Yungbluth says the extent of the damage isn't really known just yet...Queen Incident04 

"I know that there was one dock that was destroyed and I'm not sure on damage to the Queen, I think that's going to depend on how much wind damaged through the night last night and how much it was pushed up onto the shoreline. I'm sure that will have to be assessed over time after they get it removed from the shoreline."

He says they have plans in place for other types of emergency situations with the Queen II but he says this is one that was new to them...Queen Incident05 

"You know we've talked about it. We've talked about other scenarios with the Queen. There's been medical emergencies and things like that but nothing like this has ever come up where the boat's parallel to to the shore and had to get them out so we had to develop a plan quickly."

Yungbluth says fire and rescue personnel were on the scene about a half hour. 

Arnolds Park employees, the Arnolds Park and Okoboji Police Departments, Dickinson County Emergency Management and the Dickinson County Communications Center assisted in the operation.