Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Branson mourns for 17 killed in sinking of packed duck boat

Branson mourns for 17 killed in sinking of packed duck boat

At least 11 people including children drowned after a tourist "duck boat", a type of vehicle with a long history of deadly accidents, sank in a storm on a lake in Missouri and authorities were set to resume a search on Friday for five missing.

Two other members of the family were in the boat and survived.

The amphibious vessel that sank Thursday night at Table Rock Lake, killing 17 people aboard, was a relic of World War II - built the same year US soldiers set foot on Normandy Beach.

While a severe thunderstorm and massive waves hit the area around the time the boat sank Thursday night, it's still unclear why it happened and others made it through the storm.

Nine of the 17 people who who died in a duck boat accident in the U.S. are from the same family, according to Missouri Governor Mike Parson. The captain of the duck boat survived, but the driver of the vehicle was among the fatalities, Rader said.

Rader said the National Transportation Safety Board was traveling to the area today and that it would be in charge of the investigation of the accident with regards to the boat.

Jim Pattison, president of Ripley Entertainment, which owns the Branson "Ride The Ducks" tour company, said the strength of the storm was unexpected, but the duck boat should not have been in the lake.

Lester said the weather had been nice Thursday. He said life jackets were aboard the boat, but he doesn't know whether people were wearing them. "We'll be working arduously to determine what happened, why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again", NTSB member Earl Weener said Friday.

Officials said all bodies have now been recovered from the accident.

The boat was owned by tourism company Ride the Ducks.

General Motors developed the DUKW in 1942 to get supplies and reinforcements to World War II troops, and the amphibious vehicles became known as "ducks".

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In a short video taken by Malaske from a dock, the duck boat can be seen wallowing through the choppy, wind-whipped lake, with water only inches from its windows. "We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved", Ride the Ducks Branson said in a statement on its website.

A survivor from the family who lost nine relatives said the captain told passengers not to bother grabbing life jackets.

Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were aboard for a pleasure cruise.

The duck boat can be seen struggling to make headway against a train of wind-driven waves. Ride the Ducks was founded in 1977 in Branson (the site of Thursday's fatal incident); the business later expanded, beginning tours in Philadelphia in 2003.

Weather can change rapidly in this part of the country, moving from sunshine and calm to unsafe storms within minutes, Schaumann said.

Boston Duck Boat Tours offered condolences to everyone touched by the Missouri tragedy. "There are still people in the water", Parson said.

In 2011, the boat lost its steering for an unknown reason with 30 people on board while on the lake, but the boat was able to get back on land with no injuries or damage.

There are roughly 22 of the boats operating in the state, said Lt. Tasha Sadowicz, spokeswoman for the Coast Guard's regional office in St. Louis.

Stone County sheriff Doug Rader said the boat had sunk in 40ft (12m) of water, and then rolled into 80ft of water. "It was a great loss for the church", Oakes said.

July 16, 2003: Sixty-three-year-old Rosemary Hamelburg fell backward off a duck boat onto a parking lot while taking a photo and died four days later. "May God be with you all!"

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