‘Mass Casualty Incident’ on Branson-Area Lake Takes Lives of Duck Boat Passengers
The death toll is now at 17 after a tragic accident on choppy, violent waters in Missouri; the injured are at hospitals
Update, 2:10 p.m. Eastern time: Seventeen people are dead; all passengers have now been accounted for, say authorities.
Missouri divers recovered two more bodies Friday morning, bringing the death toll to 13 after a duck boat capsized on a Branson-area lake hours earlier, officials said. Four other people remain missing. Some of the dead were children, officials said.
At least seven people — four adults and three children — were hospitalized after the tragedy on Table Rock Lake, said Brandei Clifton, a spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson.
Two adults were in critical condition and others were being treated for minor injuries, officials said.
The Southern Stone County Fire Department said multiple agencies responded to the “mass casualty incident” involving a “tourist type boat” at around 7:12 p.m. Central time.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 31 people were aboard the “Ride the Ducks” boat when wind gusts upwards of 60 mph caused huge waves to slam into the vessel, capsizing it, FOX4 reported.
An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was on the boat at the time immediately stepped into action, helping save several people who’d been thrown overboard, Rader said.
This is what it looked like at Table Rock Lake nine nautical miles from where the 'Ride the Ducks' boat capsized. (Credit: Rick Kettles) pic.twitter.com/ZSVgzQia8z
— Jason Boatright (@TheJasonBoat) July 20, 2018
Multiple dive teams from different law enforcement agencies were assisting in rescue and recovery efforts that were paused late in the evening and were due to resume in the morning, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, citing Rader. By 6:30 a.m. Central time, the search had not yet resumed.
National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7 p.m. Thursday at Branson Airport, and the winds were likely stronger over the lake. Videos from the scene showed choppy, violent waves rolling through the water.
“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” Linderberg said.
Investigators said the boat sank into the lake where it remains, WGN9 reported.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tweeted his prayers for “all those involved.”
The “Ride the Ducks” website says the excursion is a “70-minute guided amphibious tour that takes guests through the scenic Ozarks on both land and water.”
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred this evening at Ride The Ducks Branson,” a spokeswoman said in a statement to the media. “This incident has deeply affected all of us.”
Duck boats, known for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past.
Duck boats, known for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. Five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus in Seattle in 2015, and 13 people died after a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1999.
Since 1999, 37 people have been killed in duck boat accidents, with 24 of those coming just from the Hot Springs accident and Thursday night’s disaster.
Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce, Chris Irvine and the Associated Press contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission. This article has been updated.
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