Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

by Abel Hampton July 21, 2018, 0:55
Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

At least eight people died after a tourist boat capsized and sank Thursday night in a Missouri lake, according to the local sheriff.

Divers on Friday pulled the last four bodies from the wreckage of a "duck boat" that sank in a storm in a Missouri lake, killing 17 people in one of the deadliest USA tourist incidents in recent years.

This protocol factors in wind speed, wave, height, and the potential for inclement weather.

The National Weather Service said wind gusts were as strong as 60 miles per hour and caused 3-foot waves. Fourteen survived, including several children.

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

On September 24, 2015, five North Seattle College worldwide students died when the a duck boat collided with the bus they were riding.

Two duck boats had been on the water at the time, according to Rader, one of which returned safely.

Thirteen people died in 1999 when the duck boat they were riding near Hot Springs, Arkansas, sank suddenly.

Pattison said Ripley - which owns the Ride the Ducks boat - has been in business for 47 years and has never had a deadly incident.

Duck boats were originally used by the US military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles. On the road, the vehicles ride high and take up a great deal of space, and it's hard for drivers to see what's around them.

Passengers on a nearby boat told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the water became rough as the wind picked up.

Mourners place flowers on the windshield of cars left in the parking lot of Ride the Ducks
Mourners place flowers on the windshield of cars left in the parking lot of Ride the Ducks

Emergency crews responded to the incident shortly after 7pm (12am BST) after thunderstorms rolled through the area.

"Those poor people", a woman says in the video. "She was unconscious. I was about ready to start CPR and the EMT did show up at that time".

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said an off duty sheriff's deputy working on security for the boat company had helped to rescue people after the accident. A team sent out by the National Transportation Safety Board will visit the scene on Friday to assist. The sheriff urged anyone with video or photos of the accident to contact authorities. He said there were life jackets on board.

The names of the dead were not immediately released.

Seven people were taken to hospital, two of whom were seriously injured, police said.

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.

Ride the Ducks is a national duck tour operator with locations across the United States, and the Branson operation was purchased past year by Ripley Entertainment, spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts told The Washington Post. Six more were recovered on Friday morning.

At the time, he said, the lake seemed calm, and no one was anxious about the weather.

The weather service station in Springfield, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Branson, issued a severe thunderstorm watch for its immediate area Thursday, saying conditions were ripe for winds of 70 mph.

Weather can change rapidly in this part of the country, moving from sunshine and calm to risky storms within minutes, said Jason Schaumann, another weather service meteorologist.

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