GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR)- Three men and an airboat submerged under the Country Club Lake near Midwest Boulevard and Highway 105 on Tuesday afternoon and no one resurfaced.
The Guthrie Golf and Country Club Lake Manager, Davis Drury, said it was a typical Tuesday and there wasn’t much going on.
“I kind of heard a loud noise, which just sounded like some of my guys running equipment close to the building, so it didn’t really catch my attention at first, but it persisted,” said Drury.
He noticed an airboat driving around the lake as it was creating a lot of noise, but then silence washed over the shore and that’s when he could tell something was wrong.
“I was on the phone with 911 trying to get anybody here as fast as possible,” Drury added. “We couldn’t tell exactly how many there were at first, what they were doing.”
He was roughly 1,500 feet away from the capsized boat and three men that had flipped over with it.
“It felt like eternity. I mean, I know one of the families a little bit. I know there’s young kids and family and stuff. And you just, you hope that they’re going to be okay,” said Drury.
Several agencies were called into help including Guthrie Fire, Guthrie Police, Logan County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
David Prucha lives right on the lake and the accident was about four houses down from him.
“The helicopters woke me up and so I decided to check it out. I looked out the window and I saw an ambulance down at the end of the street with a bunch of cars. I saw people walking towards the lake and I said, ‘Oh, boy, what’s going on?’ So then I went outside here and I saw the boat going around the shorelines and I saw people walking along the shorelines,” said Prucha.
The boats driving along the lake were divers dropping in a sonar device to try and map out the bottom of the lake.
The sonar device is used to detect any anomalies on the floor of the lake.
Several spots picked up abnormal objects, and a buoy would be dropped so a diver would know to investigate that area.
“It takes some time to search those areas and then to identify those anomalies that were on the floor. And, you know, and that’s what they did,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Foster. “There was a radius of about 200 feet. Now, if you can imagine, when you go down in that water, you can’t see but maybe an inch or two in front of your face. When you’re underwater with zero visibility and searching inch by inch, it takes a long time to make sure that you accomplish that effectively.”
Foster told KFOR within hours of the search, all three bodies were recovered, but no one survived.
Trooper Foster let KFOR know all three had been recovered at 7:22 p.m.
According to the Department of Public Safety, none of the victims wore a life jacket.
Trooper Foster said no one was buckled in either.
“I would just like to reach out and always say thank you to volunteers that show up and and want to assist in any way possible. And also all of the other agencies that were there. That’s how we operate together in a state where we all come together and provide any kind of assistance that may be needed,” said Trooper Foster.
A neighbor told KFOR off camera, the spot where the boat was being pulled from was about 22 feet deep, if that.
They don’t believe the boat managed to hit anything though.
High winds may have contributed to the accident, according to Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow on Tuesday night.
DPS wrote in a press release there were 16mph winds coming from the south.
Crews returned Wednesday morning to float the boat to the surface.
Just before two o’clock, the boat was pulled out of the water.
“The boat will be taken and then will be stored at a wrecker yard, but like an indoor storage so that we can investigate and look through em. We’re looking for why the boat capsized, why, you know, if there was a malfunction with the engine or other steering components, things like that. So there will be an investigation on the watercraft itself, along with the other investigation, like talking to eyewitnesses, talking to other people in interviews and things like that,” said Trooper Foster.
News 4 spoke with several neighbors who expressed how amazing of a person the boat’s driver was.
A loved one saying, “He was a very great guy, husband, dad, son, grandson and friend! It was a big tragedy for this town! These guys were loved and will be missed everyday!”
News 4 spoke with the boat driver’s uncle as well and asked he not be quoted on anything he spoke about.
He said the family is trying to take it one day at a time.
He and his wife stood by as the boat was pulled out.
OHP has not released the names of the victims yet as they’re trying to get in touch with each one’s next of kin.
In the meantime, this Guthrie community is now blanketed in grief.
“Surreal. It’s just difficult to believe it actually happened,” said Drury.
Prucha said he has said prayers for the family and is hoping they find closure.
There is a memorial service being held in honor of the victims at Mineral Wells Park Wednesday evening.