Alva Review-Courier -

Brothers hope previously capsized Kansas boat floats again


PERRY, Kan. (AP) — The new owners of a Kansas cruise boat are hoping it can float again 40 years after a tornado sank the boat and killed more than a dozen people.

A tornado capsized the Whippoorwill paddle boat this month in 1978 on Pomona Lake, killing 16 of the 58 people on board.

Brothers Josh and Matt Abramovitz bought the boat for $4,000 in July 2016 to restore the 45-ton (41-metric ton) craft, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Josh Abramovitz, 28, said the boat's close to seaworthy again after decades of repairs by his family and three previous owners. The brothers hope to get the boat out on Perry Lake near Topeka by July 4.

"It's a work in progress, but it's getting there," said Matt Abramovitz, 26.

The brothers also hope to eventually start a business called "Perry Paddlers," where customers would pay to ride the paddle boat on day cruises on Lake Perry.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doubts the boat will have paying passengers anytime soon, the Kansas City Star reported.

"We wouldn't flat out say, 'No, you can't do that,'" said R.J. harms, project manager for the Army Corps' operations on Perry Lake. "But we'd have a lot of requirements they'd first have to go through" before the brothers make the boat a commercial enterprise.

The Abramovitz brothers have debated whether it would be appropriate to keep the Whippoorwill name given the boat's dark history.

"We might name it something else," Josh Abramovitz said. "But everyone will still call it the old Whippoorwill."


Information from: The Kansas City Star,


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