Hunt For Lost Boat Brightens Spirits Amid Fort Gibson Flooding
FORT GIBSON, Oklahoma - Those who lost homes and businesses in Fort Gibson are now cleaning up layers of mud and filling dumpsters with things they've worked for years to get.
Among all the devastation and loss, there was one unusual bright spot. It was a boat on the loose and floating around. People enjoyed spotting it, tracking it, and ultimately finding it.
Kevin Brannon's 21-foot Tahoe, with a new engine and upholstery on a trailer with four new tires, started floating when the flood waters came. Kevin posted pictures of it and sightings started coming.
"People were sending me pictures, hey, I seen your boat here and check Facebook, somebody seen it up there," said Brannon.
Someone even posted a video of it on Highway 62. It became a bit of a social media celebrity, even at the command post.
"Oh yeah, they all belly laughed when I came in and told them I was the owner of the famous Tahoe boat," Brannon said.
Someone eventually spotted it and tied it to a tree. She was still on the trailer, in two feet of mud and a little banged up, but in one piece.
"Yeah, it was neat, kind of kept my spirits up a little," said Brannon.
Which has been tough, since he and his brother's businesses flooded. When they built here, they did so higher than the 1986 flood level, thinking they'd be safe.
"That's why we didn't take anything when we left Wednesday night, cause they said it wouldn't be as bad as ’86," said Brannon.
Now, they've filled three dumpsters with furniture and sheetrock. The floor on his horse trailer buckled, his saddles are covered in mud and mold. The 40-foot storage container packed with belongings is ruined and the footing under the building is washed out.
He said still, others have it worse and they'll recover. Plus, they'll always have the story of the boat that refused to sink.
"I'm going to have to come up with a name for the back of it, you know, I'll need help on that," he said.
Even though there have been a few laughs along the way, there have been some tears shed as well. They know they're going to get through it, it's just going to take some time.