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Eight Teams Capsize in Practice Run For Montana Dragon Boat Festival

dragon boats
Photo courtesy of Lester Public Library/Flickr

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say eight dragon boats each carrying about 15 paddlers swamped or capsized on Flathead Lake.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry tells the Daily Inter Lake that rescuers responding on Friday got everybody safely out of the water.

The crews were practicing for this weekend’s Montana Dragon Boat Festival where the 46-foot-long, shallow canoes compete in races.

Wayfarers State Park ranger Lyle Scott says the swamped boats had to be towed back to shore.

Authorities say the boats ran into one- to two-foot swells and took on water until being swamped or capsizing.

Organizers say 93 teams have signed up to compete Saturday and Sunday, and that better conditions are expected for the races.

Curry says he’ll be on the water patrolling in a sheriff’s boat.

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