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12 rescued from houseboats after winter storm causes dock collapse

ABC News logo ABC News 2/18/2021
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A dozen people were rescued after they became trapped in houseboats when the roof of a boat dock collapsed in Tennessee.

MORE: South slammed by 2nd dangerous storm: Latest forecast

Rescue crews rushed to the Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, about 20 miles southwest of Nashville, on Wednesday night after receiving reports of several people trapped, according to the Nashville Fire Department.

a group of people standing around a fire: Emergency crew respond after the roof of a dock collapsed at Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 17, 2021. © Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via USA Today Network Emergency crew respond after the roof of a dock collapsed at Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 17, 2021.

When the fire department arrived, the 100-yard boat dock was in the frigid Cumberland River and inaccessible by foot, officials said. Once a water rescue was launched, 12 people were retrieved from several boats that were taking on water or already sinking.

a boat on a body of water © Caroline Chaney/Facebook MORE: 3 injured after dock collapses during birthday party at South Carolina restaurant

The roof fell in as the South was being walloped with the second winter storm in one week, bringing snow and record cold to the region.

While the dock is designed to move along with the water, the snow and ice jammed up the mechanism, causing the dock to sink and eventually collapse, officials from the Nashville Fire Department told ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN.

MORE: Deck collapses at Montana lodge injuring more than 25, some critically

Crews went boat to boat to make sure no one else was trapped inside, Nashville Fire Department Public Information Officer Kendra Loney told reporters at a press conference Wednesday night. No one was injured in the incident.

A boat is seen under the collapsed roof of a dock at Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 17, 2021. © Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via USA Today Network A boat is seen under the collapsed roof of a dock at Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 17, 2021.

The fire department reminded the public that it is unsafe to operate a boat or vehicle in such inclement weather.

a close up of a snow covered bridge: The roof of a dock sits collapsed in Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 18, 2021. © Caroline Chaney/Facebook The roof of a dock sits collapsed in Blue Turtle Bay Marina in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 18, 2021.
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