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Missouri: at least 13 dead after tourist boat capsizes on Table Rock Lake

Friday - 20/07/2018 10:07
Four people are missing after an amphibious vehicle capsized with more than 30 on board, including children
Agencies respond after an amphibious duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. Photograph: Southern Stone County Fire Protection District/EPA
Agencies respond after an amphibious duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. Photograph: Southern Stone County Fire Protection District/EPA

At least 13 people, including children, died after an amphibious boat carrying tourists capsized and sank on a lake during a thunderstorm in south-west Missouri.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident. Two adults are in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.

Sgt Jason Pace of Missouri highway patrol said four people remain missing on Friday after the Ride the Ducks boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson on Thursday evening.

He said 14 people survived, and that seven of them were injured. Patrol divers found two more bodies early on Friday, raising the death toll from 11 to 13, Pace said.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident. Two adults are in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.

Rader said stormy weather probably made the boat capsize. Another duck boat on the lake made it safely back to shore.

Sheriff Doug Rader of Stone county said on Thursday that stormy weather probably made the boat capsize. Another duck boat on the lake made it safely back to shore. 

Steve Lindenberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, said the agency issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area on Thursday evening. Lindenberg said winds reached speeds of more than 60mph (100km/h). “It’s a warning telling people to take shelter,” he said.

“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area.”

Rader said an off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the boat capsized. Dive teams from several law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort.

The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators will arrive on the scene on Friday morning.

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. Smagala added this was the Branson tour’s only accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Shocking video believed to be of the boat sinking was posted on YouTube, showing the craft fighting strong wind and high waves, before its nose goes under the water line.

Branson is about 200 miles (320km) south-east of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists looking for entertainment ranging from theme parks to live music. A tornado that bounced through downtown Branson in 2012 destroyed dozens of buildings and injured about three dozen people, but killed no one.

Duck boats, which can travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. 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, Arkansas.

Safety advocates have sought improvements since the Arkansas deaths. Critics argued that part of the problem is that too many agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.

Duck boats were originally used by the US military in the second world war to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.

Source:

 Key: Missouri

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