11 dead after tourist boat sinks in Missouri lake

Several people died after the boat capsized

However, the News-Leader quotes Capt. Jim Pulley, owner of a Sea Tow service on Table Lake, as saying the storm hit with 80 miles per hour winds that produced five-foot waves.

The boat's captain survived, but its driver did not, according to Sheriff Rader.

The boat was carrying 29 passengers and two crew members on a pleasure cruise, and everyone aboard had been accounted for by midday Friday.

The boats were later changed to be used as sightseeing vehicles and renamed "duck boats".

The NTSB later determined that the accident - which also caused the duck boat to sink - occurred because the person guiding the larger ship was distracted and focused on his cellphone, though federal investigators also criticized the duck boat's operator, Ride the Ducks, for actions they said contributed to the accident.

The Stone County Sheriff confirmed there were two duck boats in the water Thursday. He described the rescue effort as "outstanding". The bodies of 13 victims already have been found.

Emergency crews responded to the incident shortly after 7:00pm (local time) after thunderstorms rolled through the area, the fire district said on Twitter. Mr Rader said the divers ended their search for the night.

Since 1999, 37 people have died in incidents involving duck boats on land and water across the U.S. and Canada.

The video ends abruptly with the boats still struggling to overcome the waves.

The incident happened on Table Rock Lake, located near Branson, Missouri.

The boat capsized on Thursday evening
GETTY TABLE ROCK LAKE The boat capsized on Thursday evening

Tourist Trent Behr was on a nearby boat at the time. He said officials are trying to contact family members and trying to figure out how many people are missing. EMTs arrived before he could administer CPR, he said.

Among the deceased, at least one was a child, authorities said.

Branson is about 200 miles 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. Seven other people were hospitalized. The trip around the usually calm lake is quick, he said. Team will travel Friday morning.

Eyewitness videos showed an absolutely chilling scene when a sudden storm left two "Ride The Ducks" tourist boats in trouble on Table Rock Lake in Branson, MO yesterday.

At about 10:15 p.m. Thursday, CoxHealth reported that Cox Medical Center Branson was treating eight patients, two of them in critical condition.

Severe weather warnings are typically sent to phones for tornadoes, flash floods or hurricanes, but those alerts are not issued for thunderstorm warnings. Another duck boat on the lake was able to safely make it back to shore. "The wind really picked up bad and debris was flying everywhere", she said.

Divers resumed a search for the missing Friday morning, but it "doesn't look very good for survival", Missouri Gov. Mike Parson told CNN's "New Day".

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.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the Branson incident.

"Our number one priority is the families and our employees that were affected by this tragic accident", Suzanne Smagala-Potts, a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, said on Thursday.

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