The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(ST. LOUIS) — The Coast Guard along with local and state agencies are working together to expedite the evacuation of 637 people from a grounded tour boat on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Mo., Sunday. At approximately 8:30 p.m., Saturday, the showboat Branson Belle, a 195-foot river touring boat, lost propulsion on Table Rock Lake.
The vessel drifted toward shore and grounded approximately 45 feet from the shoreline in two feet of water.
The operating company, Silver Dollar City Inc., has contracted an excavation company to build an access road and ramp to safely evacuate the 562 passengers and 75 crewmembers to waiting buses.
A Missouri Water Patrol rescue boat and a Coast Guard Auxiliary rescue boat are standing-by to assist. Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans has also launched an MH-65C helicopter and crew.
Three investigators and a River Rescue Advisory Team from Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River have been deployed to assist with the evacuation of the passengers. There are five certified Emergency Medical Technicians aboard to assist the passengers.
No injuries or pollution have been reported.
The towing vessel, Baby Belle, is on scene to assist and has pushed up to the boat to stabilize it.
“We are coordinating with our state and local response partners to ensure that all passengers and crew members are evacuated in a safe and timely manner,” said Capt. Steve Hudson, commander Sector Upper Mississippi River.