High Winds, High Risk: Texomans take Lake Arrowhead tragedy as reminder about safety

High Winds, High Risk: Texomans take Lake Arrowhead tragedy as reminder about safety

CLAY COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - High winds are being considered as a likely cause of a deadly accident on Lake Arrowhead Saturday morning.

"Yesterday morning we had a strong south wind 20 to 30 miles an hour blowing straight into the dam," Eddie Hood, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden said.

Around 9:00 a.m. a small boat in that area capsized.

"It was probably the roughest part of the lake yesterday and (it was) a fairly small boat and the waves were extremely large," Hood said.

Two men were in the boat when it overturned. 38-year old Van Dardis II of Vernon did not survive.

"I heard about it when we stopped and got minnows this morning at the little store. We've been coming out here for 20 years now. That's the first time I've heard of a boat capsizing in the wind but I'm not surprised. We've been out here very windy days," Paula Meyers of Holliday said.

Hood said wind speeds of 10 mph can give smaller boats trouble on the lake. Conditions on Sunday afternoon were 15 mph to 20 mph.

"Sometimes us fisherman don't like to let mother nature get the best of us, and so we still come out here thinking we can handle it," Harvey Johnson of Wichita Falls said.

Hood said the body of water you are on and where on that body of water you are located play a factor during high winds. The direction the wind is coming from also plays a part.

"If the wind is out of the east, you can get over to the east side of the lake and be just fine. If the wind is out of the west, blowing strong, you can hug the shoreline on the west side of the lake. But whenever the wind is out of the south it is extremely rough once you get out in the middle of the lake," Hood said.

Hood said neither men were wearing a life jacket when the boat overturned.

"I just felt for his family," Johnson said.

This tragedy is reminding Texomans why they take safety measures each time they get on the water.

"I have a family that's depending on me. I want to be back home. I know anything can happen out there," Johnson said.

Hood said there is no protocol in place to keep boats from getting on the lake with high winds. But he said the experience of a boater does factor into the types of conditions they can handle.

Winds were too high Sunday morning to try and retrieve the capsized boat. Officials said they will see if conditions are in their favor Monday morning.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6

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