17 dead after duck boat capsizes in storm on Missouri lake


(BRANSON, Mo.) — Seventeen people were killed after a tourist boat capsized on Table Rock Lake on Thursday night as a storm moved through the region, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Sgt. Jason Pace of the Missouri Highway Patrol said the victims ranged from children, possibly as young as 1 year old, to elderly.

The boat — an amphibious passenger vehicle known as a duck boat — had 31 people on board and was operated by Ride the Ducks of Branson. Fourteen people survived, seven of whom were injured, and one of the seven had serious injuries, Pace said. The boat captain survived.

Authorities weren't saying if the boat's windows were closed at the time, possibly trapping people inside, as videos of the boat suggest. They also wouldn't say if anyone on board was wearing a life jacket. The Coast Guard said passengers must have access to life jackets, but there is no requirement they wear them.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told reporters at a news conference Friday that he didn't know if the passengers had been wearing life jackets.

After repeated questions from reporters to the sheriff about life jackets, Gov. Mike Parson stepped in and said it's too early to talk about rules on life jacket requirements. "It's going to take some time to get answers to these questions," Parson said. "There's a lot of healing that needs to takes place right now."

The boat remained submerged Friday and could be seen from the surface. Laurie Driver, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District, said the lake at the accident site is 50 to 80 feet deep.

Click here to read the story.

Click here to view a YouTube video of the boat before it capsized.

By Professional Mariner Staff