Hauser Lake, MT Small Boat Capsizes, May 1953


Helena, Mont., May 4 (AP) -- Nine of 10 persons crowded into a five-passenger boat for a picnic outing drowned in Hauser Lake last night after the frail craft capsized.
Only MRS. ED AKINS, 38, mother of four children who went down with the others, was rescued after clinging to the boat for more than an hour. Rescuers found her in hysterical condition and there apparently were no witnesses to give a coherent account of what happened.
Sheriff Dave Middlemas said those who drowned were:
ED AKINS, 35, a smelterman for Anaconda Copper Mining company at East Helena; and the four children -- PETE, 14; DELORES, 11; DORIS, 10; and DARLENE AKINS, 9, all of Helena.
MR. and MRS. JOHN AKINS of Townsend, Mont., parents of ED AKINS.
BURDETTE MACE, 19, Grants Pass, Ore.
MRS. AKINS, brought to St. Peter's hospital here in a state of shock, told the sheriff she didn't see any of the others surface after their boat overturned.
Rescue crews said it was the worst water disaster for Montana in their memory.
Eight bodies were recovered Monday. Search was under way for the ninth.
Hauser Lake, 15 miles east of Helena and one of several in the vicinity, may be 100 feet deep where the boat capsized, Middlemas estimated. It is separated from larger Lake Helena by Canyon Ferry dam.
As the sheriff reconstructed the tragedy, they crossed the lake in two boat trips to picnic on the east side of Hauser Lake but decided to return together in the five-passenger boat.
It collapsed and spilled them into the deep and muddy waters about 9 p.m. First reports of the accident reached the sheriff's office here about 45 minutes later.
Joe Hoy and Lou Salisbury, Helena, found MRS. AKINS clinging to the boat and brought her ashore. They also joined in an unavailing search for the others.

Twin Falls TImes News Idaho 1953-05-04