Survivors recall boat getting sucked through Mississippi dam

Sinead Moore

Survivors of an accident in which a fishing boat capsized on the Mississippi River have spoken out about their terror.

The five people on board the boat were helpless as their fishing boat , which has a broken anchor and stalled motor, drifted towards disaster.

Four people managed to escape the swirling current. One passenger, Charles Slocum, is still missing, reports WQAD News.

"We got sucked through the dam under it and through the rollers," recalled Sally Jo Slocum, Charles' wife.

Roller dams are very powerful and a dangerous place for a disabled fishing boat.

The five people on board the fishing boat failed to grab the so-called "last chance" blocks and were pulled through one of 17gates.

"When you go through there, it's kind of like a drowning machine," said Dennis Shannon, Army Corps of Engineers. "You go through that gate, and you spin through and pop back out."

Shannon says it is a miracle anyone survived.

"They shot through the dam in that ten foot opening and came out and survived," he said. "They were pretty lucky."

One person swam safely to shore and three more were rescued from the water. One still remains missing.

The missing man's wife recalls the moment her husband gave her his own life jacket and told her to save herself. "He (Charles) had on the good life jacket," Slocum recalled. "He took it off, gave it to me and said he loved me and to save myself. He put on another one."

"It's a nightmare that I wish I could wake up from."

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