Nine Family Members Killed When Branson Boat Capsized

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

Five of those who died were under the age of 16.

The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators will arrive on the scene on Friday morning.

The incident began around 7 p.m. (0000 GMT) on Thursday after thunderstorms rolled through the area, when two duck boats were out on the lake, officials said.

An initial assessment blamed thunderstorms and winds that approached hurricane strength, but it was not clear why the amphibious vehicle even ventured out into the water.

"The winds were behind what is called a ‘gust front", reported weather blogger meteorologist Mike Smith.

"Our hearts are heavy tonight", the City of Branson said in a statement. There had been wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour reported at Branson Airport at the time of the tragic accident.

Mongeluzzi said there have been as many as 40 deaths involving duck boats since 1999.

Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident.

Eyewitness video showed the craft, which travels on land and water, taking on water as waves lashed at its sides. One returned safely. The other did not. "Somebody needs to help them".

Two duck vehicles were on the lake and headed back to shore but only one made it. Footage from Paul Lemus and published by local news outlets shows a number of adults and children inside the boat. All of the passengers who were aboard the boat have been accounted for at this time. A severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for Branson at 6:32 p.m. Thursday.

"Will be a duck that has capsized". "Its pretty intense here", another voice said later.

An off-duty deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the boat turned over, the sheriff said.

"We have injuries, a possible CPR in progress". "Our prayers are with the victims and their loved ones". The personal flotation devices, and whether they were worn, will "definitely be a focus of the investigation and certainly one of the questions we will be looking to ask", U.S. Coast Guard Captain Scott Stoermer said at a press conference Friday night. Multiple people are still missing.

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In a short video taken by Malaske from the deck of the Belle, the duck boat can be seen wallowing through the choppy, wind-whipped lake, with water only inches from its windows.

Pattison told CBS This Morning on Friday that the storm "came out of basically nowhere" and that the lake is typically calm. Rader believes the victims died by drowning.

"This is a very tough night", said Melody Pettit, spokeswoman for the city.

"It's a warning telling people to take shelter", he said. The city set up a command post inside, offering chaplains, psychologists and Red Cross services to families, Pettit said. "The duck boat industry has had since 1999 to address this issue".

The storm was too much for the small boat, which eventually capsized and sank, plunging to the bottom of the lake and killing 17 people, some of them children.

Guain Holloman, of Tennessee, places a flower on the windshield of a vehicle in the Ride the Ducks parking lot in Branson on Friday.

Rader said 31 people had been aboard the amphibious vessel, known as a duck boat for its wheels that allow it to ride on land in addition to floating low on the water. Rader noted that the boat's captain survived the sinking but the driver did not. Dozens of people were also injured. Ride the Ducks International agreed the following year to pay $1 million for violating federal safety regulations, according to the Seattle Times.

President Trump offered his condolences on Friday to the loved ones of those who died in the tragic Missouri duck boat capsizing accident. She said this was the ride's only accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Josh Daniel, a local, organized the vigil on Friday, which took place in the parking lot for the Ride the Ducks boat tour - a spot where the vehicles driven to the tourist attraction by the victims still Saturday. This business has been operating for 47 years and we've never had an incident like this or anything close to it.

Located about 20 minutes from Branson, Table Rock Lake is a popular destination for "watercraft aficionados", according to its website.

"Duck boats are death traps", said Andrew Duffy, an attorney whose Philadelphia law firm handled litigation related to two fatal duck boat accidents there.

The sheriff said Thursday that two duck boats were on the water at the time of the storm.

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