BRANSON, Mo. — The treacherous conditions on Table Rock Lake caused a struggle as Brandon Hite tried to get his boat back to the dock.
“It was peaceful, it was calm.”
That’s how Brandon Hite remembers the lake conditions being when he took his 14-year-old daughter Danielle out fishing just before the storm rolled in yesterday. Hite says in all his years of boating, it was as quick of a change in conditions as he can remember when they were heading for their dock.
“And then the water – the calm – changed to ripples, the ripples changed to waves,” Hite said. “The waves turned to white caps, and by that time, there was like a foot and a half to two-foot swells. I’d never seen it happen that fast before.”
He said he had to keep the nose of his boat pointed directly into the wind to avoid capsizing his boat, and the water made it even tougher.
“The wind would take you left or right, and it would pull the boat over left and right,” Hite said. “I had never experienced anything like that. The water was just tremendous, coming over the bow of the boat. We had never experienced anything like that before.”
While Brandon held it together at the wheel, his daughter tried to keep their things from blowing out of the boat.
“My first instinct was to run to the back and cover as much surface area as I could to keep everything down without it flying out and or hitting someone behind us because there was a fishing boat right behind us,” Danielle said.
Brandon had posted on Facebook about their experience once they finally got home, and that’s when they heard about the duck boat capsizing on the other side of the lake.
“Its kind of putting it into reality how lucky we were to not have been injured at all,” Danielle said.
“It was an experience, but it was none that I thought that was going to relate to the evening as much as it did,” Hite said.
One thing Brandon and his daughter mentioned about lake traffic today is how little of it there is for it being a Friday in July on Table Rock, with many in the closely tied lake community carrying heavy hearts for yesterday’s victims of the sunken duck boat.