Published: Sun, July 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Nine Family Members Killed In U.S. Duck Boat Tragedy

Nine Family Members Killed In U.S. Duck Boat Tragedy

The "duck boats" are amphibious vehicles that take tourists through Missouri's Ozarks. Two adults were in critical condition, while the others were being treated for minor injuries, a Cox Medical Center spokesperson told CBS News. The company offers refunds in cases where severe weather impedes tours, according to its website.

Nine of the 17 victims killed Thursday night when a duck boat sank at Table Rock Lake were from the same family.

Thursday's incident occurred during heavy winds as a storm moved over the man-made lake in southern Missouri. One witness' video shows two other boats struggling to get through the choppy waters.

Investigators blamed stormy weather for accident, with reported winds in the area of up 65 miles per hour.

Brayden Malaske, of Harrah, Oklahoma, boarded a replica 19th-century paddle-wheeler known as the Branson Belle on the same lake just before the storm hit. "And partway through coming back is when ... the waves picked up and then obviously swamped the boat". Michelle Chaffer, the Brights' eldest daughter, said her mom and dad were grandparents to 16 kids, 10 of whom belong to Chaffer.

A man who saw the incident unfold from a nearby boat said the storm took hold suddenly.

A duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake Thursday evening, with 29 passengers and two employees on board.

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She added that none of the passengers had on life vests because the captain said they didn't need to "worry about grabbing the life jackets - you won't need them". Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus, and 13 people died in 1999 when a duck boat sank near Hot Springs, Ark.

"These people showed an unbelievable strength maybe that we don't always give them credit for", Cox said by telephone.

"We do not allow our Ducks to go into the Charles River if there is lightning in the area or if conditions are forecasted to exceed our operating parameters set by the U.S. Coast Guard", said Bob Schwartz, a spokesman for the company. He told the Associated Press, "They're not fit for water or land because they are half vehicle and half boat". They had bought tickets for a 6 p.m. boat but arrived at the wrong location, so they chose to exchange their tickets for the 6:30 p.m. ride.

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

Steve Smith, a vacationing retired teacher from Osceola, Arkansas, and his teenage son Lance Smith, died in the lake, said Glenn Oakes, a church elder at the Osceola Church of Christ.

Seventeen people died when the pleasure boat capsized.

Flowers have been placed on several cars in the auto park of the duck boat firm, with the vehicles thought to belong to some of the victims.

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