Children, elderly among 17 dead after Missouri 'duck boat' sinks

Seventeen dead, more missing after storm sinks 'duck boat'

The deaths of 17 people who drowned when a "duck boat" they were riding in sank in a Missouri lake have brought back to mind design faults in the amphibious tourist vessel that were flagged nearly two decades ago by U.S. safety officials. Children were among the 17 killed, officials said. Of those, one sustained serious injuries, Rader said.

The 17 victims were aged between 1 and 70 and came from six USA states, authorities said.

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

'Seven patients [are in] the hospital and we do have some people still missing.

Spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said the patients were a mix of adults and children.

She says by the time it was clear life jackets were needed, "it was too late".

He said the captain of the boat, who has 16 years of experience, survived, but the driver did not.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said life jackets were stored on the boat but he could not say if passengers were wearing them when the boat capsized, according to Fox News.

Ms Coleman told an Indianapolis television station that she lost all of her children in the accident, which is the deadliest of its kind in almost two decades. "I couldn't hear screams, it felt like I was out there on my own", Tia Coleman said. An additional 14 others survived.

Ride the Ducks is a national duck tour operator with locations across the United States, and the Branson operation was purchased previous year by Ripley Entertainment, according to Suzanne Smagala-Potts, a spokeswoman for Ripley. A full investigation was underway.

"We're a community of smiles", Branson Mayor Karen Best told ABC.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive on the scene later Friday morning.

"Hearing this happen is just devastating", said Koehler. The company said it also added 365-degree video coverage and a second employee to narrate tours.

Michael Thomas via Getty Images            
                    A group of mourners pause for a moment of prayer at Ride The Ducks Tours on Friday
Michael Thomas via Getty Images A group of mourners pause for a moment of prayer at Ride The Ducks Tours on Friday

"What happened here last night was a heartbreaking tragedy, and we must all work together to support the victims and their families", Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said on the state's website.

The boat capsized Thursday evening (Friday NZT) when a thunderstorm hit the area and brought winds that approached near-hurricane speeds.

Footage recorded at Table Rock Lake showed small duck boats, which can traverse both water and land, struggling against large waves and heavy winds around the time of the disaster.

Officials blamed the accident on stormy weather.

"Debris was flying everywhere", Allison Lester said in an interview Friday.

Authorities say it could take several days to raise a duck boat out of the lake. "We have approximately 30 individuals in the water", said a voice on the dispatch, according to a recording captured on

Barlow says while this is not a common situation, he says there are risks you take getting on a boat. Personally, I just thought it was little bit of wind and rain.

A family of mourners stop to place a flower on a World War II DUKW boat used by Ride The Ducks tours on July 20, 2018 in Branson, Missouri. "This incident has deeply affected all of us".

"Words can not convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking", the company said.

"Emergency responders and civilian rescuers helped avert an even worse tragedy as people rushed to help in extremely risky conditions", Parson said in a statement. The NTSB found that the tugboat operator was distracted by communicating with family members on his cellphone and laptop computer. Two more bodies were discovered later in the night before the final search on Friday. "Our prayers are with the victims and their loved ones. Once we confirm the business is operating again, we intend to restore".

Parson also ordered flags in the state to be flown at half-staff for a week.

President Donald Trump offered condolences via Twitter. He wrote, "My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in the awful boat accident which just took place in Missouri. May God be with you all!"

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