Mystery Behind Tragedy: The Grand Glaize

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LAKE OZARK - Wednesday marks the 60th anniversary of the worst boating accident, and one of the strangest mysteries, in the Lake of the Ozarks' history. 

About 30 people came together at the site of the Grand Glaize accident and laid a memorial wreath to honor the victims. 

In 1954, the Grand Glaize, a 35-foot excursion cruiser, set off from the Loc-Wood dock at the Bagnell Dam with 12 confirmed passengers and its pilot. 

"I told Johnny Loc and Glenn Wood, 'Guy's I don't think we ought to go out'," said Perry Graham, the pilot of the Grand Glaize. "They said 'Oh no, we'll be alright. Take it on out'. So I did, I took it out."

As the boat toured the lake, inclement weather began to set in, and, with the Grand Glaize having a top speed of 15 miles per hour, there was little chance of making it back to the dock before the storm hit. 

"I could see this storm coming down the lake," said Graham. "I drove into this cove, or tried to drive to this cove, to protect the boat and passengers." 

Violent winds over the lake formed a waterspout, or a tornado on water, and caused the Grand Glaize to capsize. 

The accident caused all 13 people on board to fall into the lake near the fourth mile marker, where the water is more than 100 feet deep in the main channel. 

"Most of the life savers were on the flying bridge, which was flipped over. I went back underneath the boat, got as many life savers as I could and gave them to people that were still, you know, surviving," said Graham. 

After the initial waterspout, high winds continued, spreading some of the stranded across the lake. 

"I did all I could to bring them back and put them on the bottom of the boat and protect them," said Graham.

When asked how long it took for the passengers of the boat to be rescued, Graham couldn't recall.

"It seemed like a long time, but I have no idea how long it really was." said Graham. "Maybe 30 minutes, an hour, I don't know."

When rescuers finally arrived, nine survivors were immediately pulled from the water. Three passengers weren't accounted for, and Graham remained with the Grand Glaize.

"I don't know why I stayed, a captain goes down with his boat I guess," said Graham. 

The mystery of the Grand Glaize isn't in the accident, rather it follows two newlyweds from the Chicago area who were supposedly passengers on the boat. 

Graham said he doesn't remember Thomas or Dorothy Fahey, the missing newlyweds (pictured below), but that someone found Thomas Fahey's wrist watch days after the incident.

"We are very, very certain they were not on the Grand Glaize," said Captain Charlie Meyer, a United States Coast Guard licensed boat pilot and historian on the Grand Glaize mystery. "We're not even sure they drowned."

In 1956, Missouri's Western District Court of Appeals found there was little, if any, evidence to support the Fahey's were ever aboard the Grand Glaize. 

The bodies of Thomas and Dorothy Fahey have never been found and no new evidence of their disappearance has ever come to light. 

Several theories have been formulated about the fate of the Faheys. 

Thomas Fahey was an accountant for a produce company in the Chicago area. With a mob presence still felt at that time, some people say the Thomas Fahey found "cooked" numbers and said something to the wrong people, leading to a mob-style "hit" on the couple. 

Others say the Faheys ran off on their own, or they might have died in a separate incident.

"I don't think it was a murder-suicide," said Meyer. "It's just not right."

With there being few further explanations into the Faheys disappearance and stories of the Grand Glaize incident all being similar, Meyer says the mystery leaves one thought with him.

"You can almost write your own ending to this," said Meyer.

Along with the bodies of Thomas and Dorothy Fahey, the body of Patricia Gump from Tunas, Missouri has never been recovered. 

Perry Graham is supposedly the last living person from the accident. He was 18 at the time of the Grand Glaize tragedy. 

 

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