Sinking burger boat towed to dry land

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Clinton, IOWA  - The sinking burger boat stuck on a wing-dam in the Mississippi River is headed to dry land.

Living Lands and Water and Big River Rescue towed the steel floating restaurant to a marina in Fulton on Tuesday, 30 hours after the accident.

Meanwhile, first responders who came to the aid of the three people and two dogs onboard Mimi's Burger Boat say they needed two boats for the rescue, because of the shallow water and challenging current.

"The Fire Department boat, it drew too much water and it was in an area of current, we were worried about our boat also being in that same predicament, getting punctured, losing engines, getting beached," said Lt. Allen Schutte, who was in command that night.

"The Fire Boat didn't allow it to get close enough," said Capt. Bill Greenwalt of the Clinton Police Department.

So, the two departments teamed up in the police boat, an 18 foot flatboat, which had just been purchased six months ago.

It was the boat's inaugural official launch and first rescue.

"Prior to the acquisition of the boat, we relied on the Clinton County Sheriff's office to handle everything on the river and waterways," Capt. Greenwalt said.

"We've had to contact DNR, even used civilians to assist us with boats. It's a great tool. It's just nice to have the resource now to take care of what we need to take care of," he said.

The wing-dam that was hit is outside of the main channel, and was submerged and not visible in high water today.

The owners of the burger boat have said they were trying to get out of the way of a barge, and wished the wing-dam had some sort of marker or warning.

But, police say there are buoys to mark the main channel, and all boaters have to educate themselves on where the wing dams in the river are.

"There are maps available from Iowa DNR that will show  you where all the wing-dams are at. It's really important to make sure you have the materials you need so you know where the danger is at. You're not going to be able to see them," said Clinton Officer Paul Giuliani.