A parade for President Donald Trump gets dicey when multiple boats sink on Lake Travis. According to first responders, nobody was injured.
At around 2:50 p.m. the TCSO confirmed via tweet that they had responded to multiple calls made about boats being in distress at the parade. They also confirmed that several of those boats sank on the lake.
As of Saturday night, the Travis County Sheriff‘s office said they were still sorting out just how many boats went under. A spokesperson explains it’s unclear how many calls came in, how many boats sank, how many were towed and how many people needed rescuing largely because others on the lake stepped up to help before some first responders got there.
Around 11:30 a.m. Saturday supporters of the president flocked to Central Texas wanting to take part in the weekend’s boat parade on Lake Travis whether they were getting in the water or not.
“I don’t have a boat, so I wanted to watch the parade and do my best to support four more years of our president,” says Gina Bahel of Liberty Hill.
Bahel says concerns about the crowd and COVID-19 never crossed her mind.
“I am a school teacher. I think our kids belong back in school. I think COVID has been overrated. I know people have lost loved ones, but if we look at the not-underlying-issues cases it's not that huge,” Bahel says.
Boats with Trump flags jetted across the lake for most of the day Saturday, but the wake became too much for some. Photos show rough water slamming one boat in the parade.
According to the photographer that particular boat did not to go under. However others did. Another photo shows people being helped by Lake Travis Fire Rescue as a boat slips under the surface.
Before the event CBS Austin spoke with the organizer by video. Pacey Chynoweth says she did take the pandemic into account and believes being on the lake allows people to connect with each other from a distance.
“In the middle of this COVID thing... this is a safe, effective way that we can socially distance. We can be in groups of ten or less,” says Chynoweth.
She organized the parade after seeing a lot of support for the idea on Facebook. Chynoweth says soon people were contacting her volunteering to add flyovers and parachute jumps to the mix. Three helicopters, veteran parachute jumpers and a flyover from the Devil Dog, a B-25 bomber, were all expected to be part of the show, according to Chynoweth.
“I think that this is the silent majority, and I think that this is a safe, fun way that we can speak, communicate and stand up for what we believe in,” she says.
Medics were called to Lake Travis later Saturday evening when someone had a medical episode on the water, but Austin Travis County EMS said that was not related to the parade.