Duck boat tragedy: 17 dead, including 9 from one family

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Tia Coleman told WXIN-TV in Indianapolis that she and a nephew were among 11 relatives on a duck boat Thursday night on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. A full investigation was underway. The building was closed to the press, a Branson police officer said. "We have so much fun here". Myong S. Thayer, 59, died on the scene after the duck boat ran into her on a dock shared by vehicles and pedestrians. One of those boats eventually sank.

"Why wasn't there any life jackets? Nobody around. It was really eerie", he said.

Roger Brallier, who is a duck boat captain for the same company, told the Post that all of the captains are "very close".

"That's a determining factor daily for us to monitor what's happening now on our waterways", he said. After they stopped for a picture, she said, a ticket taker realised they should have boarded at a different location and reassigned them.

"And those vests are out and visible".

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

Duck boats were originally used by the USA military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

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Duck boats have also been involved in many other smaller incidents as well on land and in the water, striking and killing pedestrians in Boston and Philadelphia in recent years.

Visitors in Branson report for most of the day yesterday the weather was calm and in the mid-90s, but a storm quickly blew through the area just before 7 p.m. CDT. The schedule for Thursday showed there were tours every 30 minutes from 8:30 a.m.to 6 p.m.

"When we issue a warning, it means take action", meteorologist Kelsey Angle said.

The president of Ripley Entertainment, the company which owns the duck boat tour company, admitted that the boats "should not have been in the water" in the weather conditions.

A Philadelphia lawyer who has advocated for victims of other duck boat disasters said the canopy roof on duck boats turned them into a "death trap" even for anyone wearing a life preserver.

'Seven patients [are in] the hospital and we do have some people still missing. The captain survived, authorities said.

The ages of the victims range from 1 to 73 years old, according to the sheriff's office.

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Smagala-Potts said the boat that sank Thursday night marked the first time there has ever been an accident involving the duck boats in Branson.

"It's important that we find out for sure what events did occur", Governor Michael Parson said at a Friday morning news conference.

The waves on the lake overwhelmed the amphibious vehicle that drives and land and water, and it sank in 80 feet of water coming to rest on its wheels.

Gerald Dworkin, a consultant for Lifesaving Resources, an aquatics safety training firm in ME, said, "Even if they were wearing a life jacket when the boat went down, unless they could evacuate through the side windows they would've been trapped by that canopy".

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive Friday to help determine the cause of the tragedy.

In Branson, a popular family vacation destination about 200 miles southeast of Kansas City, they are driven along city streets for part of the tour before the driver uses a ramp to enter the lake.

Table Rock Lake is a 67-square-mile (174 sq km) reservoir containing water impounded by the Table Rock Dam on the White River.

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