After her arm was severed in Lake Powell microburst, 80-year-old woman says ‘things happen’

A woman’s arm was severed and several other people were injured Thursday afternoon after strong winds blew over a houseboat at Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border.

About 1 p.m. Thursday, multiple callers in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area reported a microburst — a rapid, powerful downdraft of wind — to dispatchers, said National Parks Service spokeswoman Mary Plumb.

The most severe injuries occurred when the microburst pushed a 75-foot houseboat carrying 14 people to shore and blew it over near Padre Canyon, Plumb said.

Bruce King said in an email to The Tribune that he and family members were aboard his houseboat when the draft came.

Although initial reports indicated a 60-year-old woman had an arm amputated after the incident, King confirmed to The Tribune that his 80-year-old mother was the one who sustained the worst injury — a severed arm, while his 57-year-old wife suffered head and hip injuries. Others were thrown off the boat.

King said his mother’s arm was lost in the water and found Friday morning. But she “never lost consciousness and told those trying to stabilize her to go take care of the others.”

She was recovering in a St. George hospital Friday, King said, and tried to comfort her children by telling them, “Things happen.”

His wife also is doing OK, King said.

Another person, near Gunsight, suffered a dislocated shoulder, Plumb said. Calls also came in from the Sand King and Lone Rock areas of the park, she said.

Several private water vessels also overturned during the microburst, Plumb said. Those with injuries were transported to Page Hospital in Page, Ariz.

While park officials were continuing to sort through the reports Thursday night, Plumb said that everyone involved had been assisted and accounted for.

Park officials are cautioning patrons to be ”very safety conscious” and “be aware” of the weather forecast, Plumb said. She noted that there‘d been some reports of severe weather on the north part of Lake Powell on Thursday night.

The National Weather Service says the 56 mph microburst swept through the region in about a minute accompanied by rain showers.

A news release from the Arizona’s Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said, ”The most serious water-related injuries and damage appear to have occurred in the Utah jurisdiction of the lake.”

Page police Lt. Larry Jones says the wind knocked down trees across the city, and damaged some fencing, roofing and signs.

Contributing: The Associated Press