Missouri boat accident kills 17, including nine from one family

Southern Stone County Fire Pro

The investigation into the sinking of a duck boat that killed 17 people in Missouri -- including nine from one family - could take up to a year to complete, the National Transportation Safety Board said. Among them were a popular duck boat driver, a father and son visiting from Arkansas, and nine relatives from IN, many of them children, who were on the ill-fated boat only because of a mix-up.

It followed up at 6.32pm with a severe thunderstorm warning for three counties that included Branson and the lake. Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were aboard for a pleasure cruise. Seven of the 14 survivors were hurt when the vessel went down.

Coleman hugged her nephew and told him, "I'm glad you're here with me". Two other family members who were aboard the duck boat that capsized survived, including Tia Coleman, who spoke to Fox59.

"There'll be plenty of experts that study this, but I think an ounce of prevention on the front end would've prevented most of this from happening", said Pat Cox, who has owned his marina for nearly three decades.

"When they take on water enough to capsize, they sink quickly", said Andrew Duffy, a partner at Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett And Bendesky who handled another duck boat tragedy, "Something needs to be done, these duck boats are death traps and need to be removed from the water and the land".

Coleman said the boat's captain had told passengers earlier in their trip that they "won't need" life jackets.

Her nephew was the other survivor of the accident. The captain survived, authorities said. All four children were under 10 years old. Pam Smith, Steve's wife and Lance's mother, was on shore at the time of the accident.

Smith's daughter, Loren, reportedly suffered a concussion in the incident, but was rescued and was taken to a local hospital. "It's a very hard day".

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This was likely a reference to the Branson Belle, a nearby docked showboat whose passengers threw life jackets overboard to try to aid the victims. "He was at every event". Her final Facebook photo was a selfie with Mr Asher.

Branson Mayor Karen Best said Williams was a "great ambassador" for the city. "It's just heartbreaking", said friend Russ McKay, who talked to Hamann the day before the accident.

"Pastor Bob was a prince of a man, loving, kind, and generous, whose loss to our family is incalculable", said Williams' son-in-law, Bishop Jeffery Williams, who now leads King's Cathedral in Providence. "When did they decide to alter the route of the boat?" he said.

Video footage captured from the lakeshore showed two amphibious vessels, known as duck boats for their ability to operate on land and water, struggling to move through the waves. Several fatal accidents have occurred since they were repurposed as tourist vehicles, including one in 2015 in which five students were killed when one collided with a bus in Seattle.

The boat sank 40 feet and then rolled to an area 80 feet deep, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said.

Safety advocates have sought improvements and complained that too many agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.

State and federal investigators were trying to determine what sent the vessel, originally built for military use in World War II, to its demise.

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