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Fewer fatalities on the Lake of the Ozarks despite busier-than-usual summer

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 5:48 PM CDT
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LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. (KY3) - There were two deaths on the Lake of the Ozarks between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends in 2020. That’s the busiest time of year on the water.

”That’s down from six or seven in years previous,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Geier.

One of those deaths was from a boat crash. The other was from what many call a freak accident.

”In that particular instance, the gentleman forgot to pull his anchor up. As he gains speed and started going down the lake, the anchor rose out of the water,” Geier recalled. “When that happens, there’s a lot of tension, and that tension brought it back into his boat kind of like a slingshot and unfortunately it struck him and killed him.”

As of Labor Day afternoon, 45 people have been hurt on the Lake of the Ozarks this summer. Of those 45, 12 people had minor injuries, 17 were labeled ‘moderate,’ and 16 were serious.

That’s on pace for what the lake saw last year.

Of those 45 injuries, 21 people were not wearing life jackets. Neither of the two people who died were wearing life jackets.

But, Geier says a lot more people are being smarter about their safety.

”I stopped a boat last night with about 12 people on it. They were all wearing life vests, kids, adults, everybody,” Geier said. “Of course, if you’re under seven, you’re required to wear a life jacket on the water in Missouri, but I have seen quite a few people wearing them.”

Businesses around the Lake of the Ozarks say this has been the busiest summer ever.

With more boat traffic many may have expected more problems on the water. But, that hasn’t happened.

”There’s been weekdays that look like a weekend, and what I’ve noticed personally is a lot of rental boats with families on them, a lot of people out just enjoying the lake, and it feels like it’s a little bit slower paced than in summers past,” Geier said.

Geier said boaters can’t let their guards down on the water, even after the Labor Day holiday.

”There still is quite a bit of summer left,” Geier added.

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