Man says storm that sank boat appeared suddenly

Marsha Scott
July 22, 2018

The country-and-western tourist town of Branson, Missouri, mourned Friday for more than a dozen sightseers who were killed when a duck boat capsized and sank in stormy weather in the deadliest such accident in nearly two decades.

"But it suddenly got very dark", he recalled.

Ride the Ducks Branson said it was deeply saddened and has closed the business due to the investigation and to allow the community and families time to grieve.

Jeffrey Goodman, who has represented people injured in past duck boat accidents, said the vessels should be banned. He says he saw a woman holding on for "dear life" to one of the riverboat's paddles before being rescued.

An amphibious duck boat was carrying 31 passengers including children when a sudden "microburst" storm packing powerful winds hit Table Rock Lake outside Branson, unleashing white-cap waves that swamped the vessel before it sank.

The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the area on Thursday, saying conditions were ripe for 70mph winds. A severe thunderstorm warning had been issued for Branson at 6:32 p.m. Thursday. The boat went down about 40 minutes later, shortly after 7 p.m.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader urged anyone with video or photos of the accident to contact authorities.

Tia Coleman, the girl's mother, said the captain of the...

"They are doing what would be expected and still grappling with all the facts and parameters", Rose said. Investigators believe it was rolled into choppy waters by winds of up to 62 miles per hour.

A witness' video of the duck boat just before it capsized suggests that its flexible plastic windows might have been closed and could have trapped passengers as the hybrid boat-truck went down. She said she lost all her children, but she did not say how many.

Branson Duck Boat
Branson Duck Boat

Bob Williams, the driver of the boat, was also among the victims. "He was at every event".

Questions are now being raised about why the boat chose to venture out in such severe weather conditions, claims that the passengers weren't told to put on life-jackets and whether duck boats should be in operation at all.

But the duck boats have an inherent safety problem that is twofold, critics say.

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

"I'm not going to rest until we get something in the law on a national basis that does a better job of regulating the safety of amphibious vehicles", she told CNN on Friday.

An email message seeking comment from Ripley Entertainment about Coleman's comment was not immediately returned.

The U.S. Coast Guard, another such agency that regulates duck boats, said it sets limited parameters on the vessels, such as requiring them to have a certificate of inspection and authorizing a certified route for them, but doesn't have much involvement beyond that.

Here in eastern Carolina, the threat of rainy weather kept tour boats in along the Beaufort waterfront in Carteret County. At least 39 people have died in duck boat accidents in the past 20 years. They operators usually promote a festive atmosphere for their passengers, sometimes handing out kazoos that make quacking noises, or playing music during the sightseeing tours.

The boat sank in 40 feet (12 meters) of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet (25 meters) of water. In Seattle, after five students were killed in a 2015 duck boat collision with a bus, the company removed half its fleet. With the motor off, he said, its pump for removing water from the hull would not operate.

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Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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