Submerged houseboat had mechanical problems earlier this month

The same rented houseboat that got sucked under the Dresbach lock and dam on Memorial Day was having mechanical trouble earlier this month.

Eleven people escaped with their lives Monday when the boat lost power just north of Lock & Dam 7 and the current pulled it under the roller gate.

For one family in Georgia, the houseboat accident sounded all-too-familiar.

They had rented that same boat from Mississippi River Rental earlier this month. They say they lost power nearly every day they were onboard.

Trina MacPherran and her family traveled all the way from Georgia for a week-long river cruise on the Mississippi.

Only they didn’t do much cruising.

“It was blowing out black smoke out of the engine. We called them and told them, and when they got there they were like, ‘Oh, this is not good. This is not good,'” said MacPherran.

Her father-in-law Eddie Spradley said the power went out over and over again during their trip.

“Every day that we were on it, it stalled out,” said Spradley.


So when they found out the boat they’d rented from Mississippi River Rentals lost power and got sucked under a lock and dam about a week after their own trip ended, they got mad.

“They knew the boat was unsafe. But yet they were still putting people back on that boat. And unfortunately it went over the dam. And nobody, from what I understand, was hurt. But they should not have put that boat back in the water with people on it,” said Spradley.

Mississippi River Rentals co-owner Kristina Short said the Georgia family was having generator problems, not engine problems.

Short said it was an engine problem that caused the boat to lose power on Memorial Day, and it was not preventable.

MacPherran insists both the generator and the engine were malfunctioning during their trip, and she just feels lucky they weren’t by a dam when they lost power.

“Apparently somebody was looking out for us. So we’re very fortunate,” said MacPherran.

Short said the company is giving the Georgia family who rented the boat earlier this month a partial refund.