A Texas man is dead and another person was injured after a double-decker party boat capsized in bad weather Saturday night on a lake north of Houston, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said in a statement.
The boat capsized at 8:12 p.m. during a strong thunderstorm on Lake Conroe. There were 53 people on board and officials from several agencies responded to rescue the occupants from the water, the statement said.
“Upon arrival a large number of passengers were still in the water with diesel fuel in the water,” Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough wrote on Facebook. “Local neighbors had already sprung into action and started rescuing people from their docks and some went into the water helping passengers to safety.”
Karl Katzenberger, 80, who was from Montgomery, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead, according to the Parks and Wildlife Department. A second person was taken to the hospital in stable condition, Keough said.
“While weather is thought to be the cause of the capsizing, the exact cause has not been determined and the entire incident is under investigation,” he added.
After the rescue, passengers were decontaminated to remove the diesel before they were taken back to their cars.
The boat is the Lake Conroe Queen, the Parks and Wildlife Department told CNN. The double-decker stern-wheeler paddleboat was built in 1986 that has traveled to Indiana, Colorado and Louisiana for tours and private parties, according to the website for Lake Conroe, about 40 miles north of Houston.
“Several Lake Patrol and Fire Crews who work the lake year round and some for many years have said they have never seen a scene this large on the lake,” Keough wrote. “So much bravery and teamwork tonight helped save so many from what could have been a complete disaster and a mass rescue operation didn’t turn into a mass casualty event.”