Published: Sun, July 22, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Nine killed in US duck boat accident were from same family

Nine killed in US duck boat accident were from same family

The "duck boat" was carrying 31 people when it overturned on Table Rock Lake, a popular tourist attraction. The company offers refunds in cases where severe weather impedes tours, according to its website.

Divers on Friday pulled the last four bodies from the wreckage of a "duck boat" that sank in a storm in a Missouri lake, killing 17 people in one of the deadliest USA tourist incidents in recent years.

The deadly accident happened as a line of powerful thunderstorms rolled through the American Midwest, uprooting trees and felling power lines.

Video posted by Jennie Phillips-Hudson Carr, which she recorded from a larger vessel nearby, showed two duck boats rocking and tilting to the side as the lake's ripples turned into massive waves.

Investigators said stormy weather contributed to the crash.

"Our number one priority is the families and our employees that were affected by this tragic accident", said Suzanne Smagala-Potts a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, which owns the Ride The Ducks operation in Branson.

He said the incident was caused by heavy winds, saying the tour boat had been making its way to land. "They were coming back toward land". The crew was warned to get in and out of the lake quickly as a storm was approaching, she said. It is unclear if there were life jackets on board. Nonetheless, the accident has reignited a long-standing debate over the safety of duck boats, which one lawyer called "death traps" in an interview with TIME.

A woman who lost nine relatives when a tourist boat sank in a Missouri lake has said that the captain told passengers not to put on life jackets.

The National Transportation Safety Board and US Coast Guard were investigating, officials said.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil outside the boat operator’s office on Friday night
Hundreds of people attended a vigil outside the boat operator’s office on Friday night Charlie Riedel A

Pattison said the captain of the boat, who survived, had 16 years of experience.

The area around Branson was placed under a severe thunderstorm warning shortly after 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. ET), about half an hour before the boat went under the water. The winds were probably stronger over the lake, Linderberg said.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader previously confirmed to that media outlet that the captain was among those who survived the accident.

Branson is about 200 miles southeast of Kansas City, and is considered a major family vacation destination.

Ride The Ducks, a company in Branson, Missouri, that operates amphibious duck vehicles in the area, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

"It's a warning telling people to take shelter", he said. In 2015, a duck boat in Seattle collided with a bus, killing five college students.

Seventeen people died when the pleasure boat capsized.

The Southern Stone County Fire Protection District has labelled the tragedy, which took place on a Ride The Ducks boat, a "mass casualty".

Boston Duck Boat Tours offered condolences to everyone touched by the Missouri tragedy.

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