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Strong Winds Blamed For Dragon Boat Capsizing On Standley Lake

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The dragon boat that capsized (credit: CBS)

The dragon boat that capsized (credit: CBS)

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A boat filled with people capsized on Standley Lake during gusty winds on Saturday afternoon.

Boaters say the winds came out of nowhere. They were on Standley Lake in Westminster near Wadsworth Boulevard and 100th Avenue at about 2 p.m. They were training on a dragon boat.

The team was practicing in a Hong Kong style dragon boat when they ran into trouble. Members of the Dragon Boat Festival use weekends leading up to the event to train and prepare for what to do in the case of an emergency.

A person on shore witnessed the boat capsize and called 911. A large response was dispatched because 20 people were in the water.

Paddlers told CBS4 everything was fine and then strong winds came up and the water got choppy. The boat started taking on water and eventually tipped over.

“I believe I was under the boat for a couple seconds,” paddler Stacy Hutchcraft said. “I didn’t panic as much as I thought I would. I had a life jacket on, we all had life jackets on.”

“We thought we could flip the boat back over but it’s a 600 pound boat and we just couldn’t do it, so we tried swimming into shore and the winds were too strong,” paddler Greg Wiesner said. “We were just barely able to sustain where we were at. Then the rescue boats came out and got us.”

The boat was 100 yards offshore when it capsized. It suffered just minor damage.

Some of the paddlers where in the water for as long as 20 minutes while the ranger made three trips to get everyone safely back to shore.

Nobody had to be hospitalized and rescuers say the paddlers did everything right to avoid a disaster.

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