A parade of boats near Austin, Texas meant to honor President Donald Trump ended in disarray Saturday afternoon as at least four watercraft sank and boaters continually rang local authorities in distress.
With temperatures at 90 degrees and helicopters buzzing overhead, the Lake Travis Trump Boat Parade, as the event was known on Facebook, began at noon. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office received its first call for help related to the event at 12:15, spokesperson Kristen Dark told The Daily Beast. The sheriff’s office responded to similar calls for the nearly two-hour duration of the demonstration, according to Dark.
“We’ve responded to multiple calls of boaters in distress, and some of the craft did sink,” Dark said.
Captain Christa Stedman of Travis County Emergency Medical Services said at least four boats had been reported swamped, though, she said, “That might be on the low side.”
The sheriff’s office said the final count of vessels that sunk might increase, as deputies were still occupied responding to various emergencies more hours after the parade concluded.
Trump supporters on Lake Travis, Texas. What a site to see at least three to four hundred boats. See if it make news today! pic.twitter.com/2K1uJ8Ln3i— Linda Hawthorne (@l_hawth67) September 5, 2020
As for how many boats participated, Dark simply said, “a lot.” The calls to 911 were not localized to one section of the parade route but came from all along its course.
No fatalities have been recorded, and Stedman said EMS had not received reports of serious injury.
HAPPENING NOW: Supporters of President @realDonaldTrump are gathered for a "Trump Boat Rally" on #LakeTravis. The first photo was taken by #KVUE viewer Tricia from #Lakeway and the second by KVUE's @ToriLarnedtv, who will have the story tonight. MORE: https://t.co/3LdLJJx3sS pic.twitter.com/89avRlrZ1E— KVUE News (@KVUE) September 5, 2020
Impromptu boat parades in honor of the commander-in-chief have sprung up multiple times this summer, with several happening in Florida, New Hampshire, California and New York. Trump has said he appreciates the support, referring to the paraders as “our beautiful boaters” in speeches and tweets.
A Facebook page for Saturday’s event promised four skydivers as a pre-parade display, two military veterans and one amputee.
It came as Trump is mired in a scandal over a report in The Atlantic—later confirmed by several media outlets—that he disparaged dead U.S. military soldiers as “losers” and “suckers” and expressed special disgust at the prospect of amputee veterans appearing in a military parade.