Hundreds at vigils mourn victims of Branson boat accident

Hundreds at vigils mourn victims of Branson boat accident

An amphibious vehicle capsized on a lake in Missouri on Thursday, killing eight of its 31 passengers and crew.

Authorities were still investigating how the boat capsized and the deaths occurred - in Table Rock Lake near the city of Branson during a sudden storm - but a report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said duck boats' canopy roof contributed to a high loss of a life in a similar disaster in 1999 in Arkansas. By law, the duck boat has life jackets on board, but passengers aren't required to wear them.

"However in doing that, when it was time to grab them, it was too late and I believe that a lot of people could have been spared", Coleman said.

Later, people on Malaske's boat saw a duck boat passenger "hanging on for dear life" to the paddle wheel of the Belle, he said.

"When we issue a warning, it means take action", meteorologist Kelsey Angle said.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said Thursday that stormy weather likely made the boat sank.

The boat was hit with 80+ miles per hour winds, causing it to capsize just after 7 o'clock.

"I look at my family here, and this could've been us", Ed Brown, who was at the vigil, told CNN affiliate KMIZ.

" They were very loved", she said. Rader noted that the boat's captain survived the sinking but the driver did not.

Duck boats were originally used by the USA military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles. One returned safely. The other did not.

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Although Missouri is a landlocked state, and the amphibious vehicle operates on both land and water, the U.S. Coast Guard has regulatory authority over small commercial vessels like Duck boats in federal waterways, which include Table Rock Lake and the Lake of the Ozarks, Sadowicz said.

Jennie Carr witnessed the last moments of the tourist duck boat while on a lake cruise aboard the Showboat Branson Belle.

An off-duty sheriff's deputy who was working security was on the boat at the time of the accident was able to help rescue people.

Gerald Dworkin, a consultant for Lifesaving Resources, an aquatics safety training firm in ME, said, "Even if they were wearing a life jacket when the boat went down, unless they could evacuate through the side windows they would've been trapped by that canopy".

Meanwhile, the parents of a Boston woman killed by a duck boat near her Beacon Hill home in 2016 issued their own statement Friday, and offered support to the families of the victims of the duck boat tragedy in Missouri.

Two people in hospital in a critical condition are expected to survive, according to a spokeswoman for Cox Medical Center.

The accident was the deadliest known duck boat accident in US history.

"These people showed an fantastic strength maybe that we don't always give them credit for", Cox said by telephone. In what might be the deadliest incident, 13 people died in 1999 after a duck boat suddenly started taking on water while on a tour of Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

"We did this because we want the families to know that we care", he added.

"They are unsafe on land and on water". This business has been operating for 47 years and we've never had an incident like this or anything close to it.

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