Husband and wife killed after boat capsizes on Lake Pueblo

11 News has more details in a boating incident that left two people dead, including an interview with a close friend of one of the victims.
Published: May. 29, 2022 at 9:05 PM MDT|Updated: May. 31, 2022 at 7:17 PM MDT
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PUEBLO, Colo. (KKTV) - A young couple is confirmed dead following a tragedy on the water over the Memorial Day weekend.

Husband and wife Joshua and Jessica Prindle died Sunday night when their boat sunk in Lake Pueblo. Jessica, 38, was pulled from the water on the same night, but her husband wouldn’t be found until roughly 36 hours later. Neither was wearing a life jacket, Lake Pueblo State Park manager Joseph Stadterman confirmed.

Fort Carson has confirmed to 11 News that one of its soldiers and a spouse were “involved” in the incident, but when asked would not confirm if they were the ones killed. However, in a statement to 11 News, they offered condolences to the family.

“The Fourth Infantry Division can confirm an Army soldier and his spouse were involved in the tragic boating incident on Lake Pueblo. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family as we continue to work with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department.”

According to officials, eight kids and five adults were piled on a smallish boat Sunday evening -- one that should have probably carried only five or six people, according to Stadterman. Around 7:30 p.m., fierce wind gusts toppled the vessel. 11 News meteorologist Luke Victor says the wind was part of an incoming front that likely caught the victims off guard as it whipped across Pueblo County.

Both overcrowding and the wind were factors in the incident, Stadterman said.

“At 7:37 tonight our wildlife officers received a call that a boat has capsized near the North Shore area here at Lake Pueblo,” said Travis Duncan with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) in an initial interview Sunday. “When they responded, they found a large flat-sized boat capsized with 13 folks on board.”

Eleven people, mostly children, were rescued from the water and transported to area hospitals. Jessica’s body was recovered the same night.

“The water here is 60 degrees so it’s very cold so we’re getting them check out for hypothermia,” Duncan added. “We did have one child who went on a Flight for Life tonight, so just concerned about that and continuing to check in on that.”

There has been no update on any of the survivors’ conditions as of Tuesday.

Crews searched the lake Sunday night for the 13th person on board and started the search again on Monday. But the strong winds did not let up and hindered search efforts for much of the day.

“We’ve had our Marine Evidence Recovery Team out here in the water since last night. They are using their sonar to try and search for the missing person. Right now, the wind is so strong that they were having trouble using sonar, so they are going through some of the data that they got last night and waiting for the wind to die down a little bit so they can get back on the water and continue searching,” Duncan told 11 News late Monday morning.

By the afternoon, officials decide to suspend the search until late that night. Teams took back to the water at 9 p.m. Just before sunrise Tuesday, a search and recovery team located 30-year-old Joshua’s body.

“After an all-night search, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Marine Evidence Recovery Team (MERT) recovered a body in 107 feet of water early Tuesday along the north shore of Lake Pueblo State Park,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said in a news release.

If drowning is confirmed by the coroner as the cause of death, it would be the eighth to occur in Colorado in 2022. With the official start of summer still a few weeks away, wildlife officers urge anyone on or around a body of water to wear a life jacket as a precaution. 2021 saw nearly two dozen drownings across the state, while 2020 hit a record high at 34 drownings.

“This is a tragic loss of life,” Stadterman said. “And it underscores the importance of being extremely careful around the water. If you are on or even near the water, we strongly urge you to wear a life jacket.”

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