Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Tourist boat capsizes in Missouri killing 11, scattering others

Tourist boat capsizes in Missouri killing 11, scattering others

A Ride the Ducks tourist boat sank while carrying 31 people on Thursday evening in Branson, Missouri.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said late Thursday that stormy weather likely made the boat capsize.

Rader said an off-duty sheriff's deputy working security at the Showboat Branson Belle helped rescue some of the passengers, according to the newspaper. Central time. Seven others are in the hospital with various injuries, and all other passengers and crew are accounted for.

Divers had arrived at the scene to assist in the search, Rader said, ending the rescue efforts for the night at 11:00 pm (0400 GMT Friday), with plans to resume operations in the morning. He says people jumped into the water to help save one woman. By 7:25 p.m. winds at the Branson airport were clocked at 63 miles per hour, Rothstein said. Fourteen people survived, he said. 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.

Four adults, including two in critical condition, and three children were taken to Cox Medical Center Branson shortly after the incident. The National Transportation Safety Board said it would dispatch "Go Team" investigators to the lake Friday morning to investigate.

Duck boats are amphibious vessels that travel on both land and water, and are popular among tourists in major cities.

Steve Lindenberg, a meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri some 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Branson, told AFP a string of severe thunderstorms had barreled through the area causing significant tree damage and downed power lines.

"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 US Coast Guard", the company said.

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The deceased are believed to have drowned, according to Rader, who reported that life jackets were available on the vessel - but was unable to confirm whether or not those aboard were wearing floatation devices. Divers were still searching Table Rock Lake, a large reservoir outside the town of Branson, for missing passengers.

The duck boat can be seen struggling to make headway against a train of wind-driven waves.

On its verified Facebook page, city officials said they have opened their City Hall for some of the families involved in the boat incident. Up until last night, the deadliest of these accidents happened in 1999 on Lake Hamilton near Hot Springs, AR.

The company that builds ducks, Ride the Ducks International LLC, agreed in 2016 to pay a $1-million fine after one of the vehicles collided with a bus in Seattle, killing five international students.

The sinking of vehicle, inspired by the amphibious landing craft used during D-Day in World War Two, marked one of the deadliest incidents at a USA tourist destination in recent history.

Suzanne Smagala-Potts of Ride the Ducks Branson, the company involved in the accident, said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident".

"You know, they have a very good record". And a year ago, Boston-one of the most prominent duck boat tour cities-began adopting new safety regulations in the wake of concerns from critics.

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