Eleven dead, five missing and seven injured after duck-boat carrying 31 – including at least three children – CAPSIZES on stormy Missouri lake, as final video shows its battle to stay afloat

  • A tourist boat carrying 31 people has capsized on a lake in Missouri
  • Police say there have been 11 fatalities, and five people are still missing
  • Seven people have been hospitalized following the ‘Ride the Ducks’ sinking
  • Two of those people are in a critical condition, while the rest are stable 
  • At least three of those hospitalized are under the age of 18, Cox Health says
  • Collapse came after a severe thunderstorm and 60mph winds quickly rolled in

An amphibious vehicle capsized on a lake in Missouri on Thursday, killing 11 of its 31 passengers and crew, some of them children.

Shocking footage recorded at the scene at Table Rock Lake, Stone County, near Branson, Missouri, shows the ‘Ride the Ducks’ amphibious vehicle being lashed by massive waves and tilting side to side before it begins to sink into the lake.

Before the video cuts out, the boat appears to be submerged up to the windows and about to turn on its side. 

The Southern Stone County Fire Protection District has labelled the tragedy, which took place on a Ride The Ducks boat, a ‘mass casualty’.    


Shocking video shows the boat being lashed by strong, massive waves for about five minutes before becoming submerged in the lake

At least eight people are dead and some still missing after a duck boat capsized in a lake in Missouri on Thursday night

Emergency Services were called to the scene about 7pm after severe thunderstorms quickly rolled through the area.

Seven more people were taken to hospital following the incident.

‘Seven patients [are in] the hospital and we do have some people still missing. So this is going to be an all night, into tomorrow [search],’ Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told reporters about 9.30pm. 

About midnight, Rader confirmed some of the dead were children, and that five people were still missing.

The identities of those killed have not yet been released. Rader added that he believed all of the victims died from drowning.

Seven victims including two who were critically injured were treated at the Cox Medical Center in Branson, the hospital said on Twitter. 

Brandei Clifton, public information officer at Cox Health in Branson, earlier told KY3 that of the six people she knew of that were being treated at the hospital, all had minor injuries.

A severe thunderstorm that rolled over the area, causing winds of up to 60mph, is believed to have caused the tragic accident (pictured: divers are on scene looking for more bodies and living passengers)

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told reporters about 9.30pm that divers would be searching for missing passengers ‘all night, into tomorrow’

She said then that three of them were adults and three under 18.

Rader said divers were on the scene searching for the five remaining missing passengers, but some had luckily made it safely to shore. 

Due to a lack of light, divers wrapped up the operation about midnight and headed back to shore.


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Rader said he believed the severe weather had caused the boat to capsize.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63mph was measured around 7pm on Thursday at Branson Airport. 

The winds were likely stronger over the lake, he said, adding: ‘There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area’.

Emergency services from nearby counties rushed in to help with the rescue

They are expected to work throughout the night and well into tomorrow

Suzanne Smagala, of Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. 

She added this was the Branson tour’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation. 

Anyone who is missing a family member from the capsized duck boat is asked to go to Branson City Hall. 

Duck amphibious vehicles have been involved in a number fatal accidents around the world in the past two decades, with some sinking or being swamped or others colliding with vehicles.

The vehicles have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. 

They include one in 2015 in Seattle in which five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus, and one in 1999 that left 13 dead after a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident. Critics argued that part of the problem is numerous agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements. 

The boat belonged to local company Ride the Ducks, which run tours of the area on both land and water

Seven people have been taken to hospital for treatment. Nobody on the boat has been identified yet, but children were on board when the amphibious vehicle went down, and at least three people under the age of 18 are currently receiving treatment in hospital

Pictured: An aerial view of Table Rock lake, where the duck boat capsized

36 DEAD IN DUCK BOAT ACCIDENTS SINCE 1999 

At least 36 people have died in duck boat-related incidents since the land-to-water vehicles became tourist attractions in the late 90s.

May 1, 1999 – 13 dead after a duck boat sank in Lake Hamilton in Arkansas

June 23, 2002 – Four dead after a Ford pickup truck converted into a duck boat sinks in the Ontario River

July 7, 2010 – Ride the Ducks boat overrun by a barge after engine fire, killing two

April 29, 2015 – Duck boat collides with motor scooter in Boston, killing a 29-year-old woman 

May 8, 2015 – Woman killed after being hit by a Ride the Ducks boat while crossing the street in Philadelphia

September 24, 2015 – Ride the Ducks boat hits bus carrying school students in Seattle, killing four 

July 19, 2018 – Ride the Ducks boat capsizes in Table Rock lake, Missouri, killing 11  

What is Ride the Ducks?

Ride the Ducks is a national tour operator with 90 amphibious vehicles, taking passengers on a sightseeing tour both on land and in the water. 

The design of the vessel is based on the DUKW trucks used in the Second World War.

The company was purchased by Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation in 2004, and a majority interest in the company was sold to a private buyer in 2012.

In late 2017, Ripley Entertainment announced they had purchased Ride the Ducks Branson. It is believed the company only owns the Branson branch of Ride the Ducks. 

Aerial: Images from the scene show debris strewn all over the road after a Ride the Ducks Boat crashed in September 2015, killing four

 

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