Branson showboat to reopen in late March

Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 7:17 p.m. CST

BRANSON — A paddle wheeler that ran aground in southwest Missouri in December, stranding more than 600 people overnight, is now expected to reopen in late March.

The Showboat Branson Belle is one of the biggest attractions in the Branson area. It cruises Table Rock Lake from late March through early December.

No one was injured when the ship ran aground Dec. 11 during a windstorm. The Coast Guard cleared it to resume onboard shows within weeks, but no cruising was allowed because of extensive damage.

Officials with Herschend Family Entertainment said the 15-year-old Branson Belle needed repairs to the hull. It's also getting a new propulsion system and has undergone extensive remodeling.

The boat is scheduled to reopen March 25.

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