State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick of southwest Missouri’s Shell Knob helped to lift a sunken duck boat to the surface in Branson this week. Seventeen people died when the vessel filled with water and went under during a thunderstorm last week on Table Rock Lake. Fitzpatrick tells Missourinet his company, along with his dad’s business, combined efforts with State Patrol divers and the U.S. Coast Guard to accomplish the task.

Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick speaks on the House floor on September 13, 2017 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

“There’s not really anybody else that has the type of equipment on Table Rock Lake or really anywhere around here who could have lifted the boat off the bottom in that way,” Fitzpatrick says.

He says five semi-loads full of equipment were used for the job.

Fitzpatrick, whose district is near Branson and Table Rock Lake, owns a marina construction firm called Maricorp U.S. that provided the push barge. His dad’s business, Fitzco Marine Group, performs marine construction and salvage and recovery efforts.

Fitzpatrick says the local and federal parties involved spent a few days coordinating a plan to successfully recover the boat from 80 feet below water. He says the vessel was initially lifted about 15 feet for the dive team to ensure the rigging was stable.

“Once you’ve accomplished all those steps, everything is hooked up and all the rigging is right, the actual part where you lift it doesn’t take very long. It’s everything on either side of that process that takes a long time,” Fitzpatrick says.

Fourteen people survived the boat tragedy. An investigation continues into the incident.

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