BRANSON (CBSMiami) – The bodies of four more people who died after a duck boat capsized and sank during a severe storm at a southern Missouri lake have been recovered, bringing the death toll to 17.
The Ride the Ducks Branson boat had 31 people aboard when the storm swept in Thursday evening at Table Rock Lake near Branson.
The boat embarked on its trip when the weather was calm and the storm that sank it “came out of nowhere,” said aid Jim Pattison Jr., president of Ripley Entertainment, the parent company of Ride the Ducks Branson.
“My understanding was that when the boat went in the water, it was calm,” said Pattison. “And partway through coming back is when … the waves picked up and then obviously swamped the boat.”
Branson was under a severe thunderstorm warning about half an hour before the boat capsized.
Video posted by Jennie Phillips-Hudson Carr, which she recorded from a larger vessel nearby, showed two duck boats rocking and tilting to the side as the lake’s ripples turned into massive waves. One of those boats eventually sank.
“Oh my God, those poor people, oh no!” someone says in the background as the water crashes into the smaller boats.
“If there’s kids on there, those poor babies,” a female voice says.
An off-duty deputy working security helped rescue people, said Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader. He added that life jackets were aboard the boat, but he doesn’t know whether people were wearing them.
Ripley Entertainment said it recently acquired the vessel involved in the incident. It said there were other boats on the lake that returned to dock safely.
The amphibious boat travels on both land and water and is popular among tourists in major cities. The boats’ history dates back to World War II when such vessels were a common sight due to their versatility.
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