Lewis and Clark County authorities have released the name of a man killed Sunday when two boats capsized on Upper Holter Lake.
Sheriff-coroner Leo Dutton identified the man as 63-year-old Craig Bristle of Pacific, Missouri. Dutton said Bristle was not wearing a life jacket.
Three boats had left on an outfitted fishing trip. Dutton said one of the boats began to take on water. Another turned back to assist.
When they tried to bring the passengers from that boat on board, the second boat also capsized. Five other people were rescued and taken to the hospital. Dutton said they were treated and released.
The investigation is ongoing. But all indications are that the weather caused the accident.
-Reported by Jonathon Ambarian/MTN News
(April 28, 2019) Lewis and Clark County authorities say one person is dead and five others were taken to the hospital after two boats capsized on Upper Holter Lake Sunday morning.
Cpl. Greg Holmlund, search and rescue liaison with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, said the small fishing boats were traveling close to each other when they capsized.
Authorities received a 911 call just before 10 a.m. Emergency crews responded to the Gates of the Mountains marina, where search and rescue teams went into the water.
The body of one male victim was recovered. Five other people were rescued and taken to St. Peter’s Health in Helena. They were reported to be in stable condition.
Deputies said wind and blowing snow made conditions extremely difficult – both for the boaters and for the rescuers.
“The conditions were obviously not the choice for anybody, either recreating or even to do what we do professionally, trying to do a rescue,” said LCSO Capt. Alan Hughes.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will still investigate the incident, but Hughes said it’s likely the weather played a role.
Authorities initially believed three boats had capsized, but after further investigation, they determined there had only been two involved.
After rescue crews returned to the marina, they received a report of another boat nearby that was stranded against the rocks. They went back onto the lake and brought the passengers to safety.
Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue, the LCSO Water Emergency Team, the Montana Highway Patrol, West Valley Volunteer Fire Department, St. Peter’s Health and Montana FWP all responded. Holmlund said a Gates of the Mountains tour boat also assisted.