Officials release identities in Lake Palestine boating accident

By Elizabeth Thomas - email
and Jamey Boyum - email


One person is dead, one is hospitalized after a boat capsized on an East Texas lake.

Noonday Firefighters responded to Lake Palestine around 2 p.m. on Monday to a report that a boat had overturned near The Villages resort marina.

Paul Dowdy, a fisherman checking his trot line, spotted the nose of a bass boat sticking out of the water.

"We got to looking around to see if anyone was in the water, and sure enough, we found a lady," Paul says, "She was waving and flagging us with a Styrofoam floatie and we went over and got her in the barge... We looked around and we saw him--he was floating. He had on his life jacket but it looked like he was unconscious. His head was down in the water."

Shortly after, emergency crews recovered the body of the woman's husband.

The Smith County Sheriff's Office has identified the woman as Barbara Cooper, 55, of Lancaster. Barbara was taken to an area hospital where she is being treated for hypothermia. Currently, she is listed in fair condition.

Her husband has been identified as Floyd Cooper, 58, of Lancaster.

Officials say even though it was a warm day, the water is still cold. They estimate the two were in the water 20 to 30 minutes.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of Floyd's death.

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