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‘Duck boat’ capsizes in Missouri: 11 dead after storm sinks tourist vessel

At least 11 people, including children, drowned when an amphibious “duck boat” carrying 31 people capsized and sank in stormy weather on a lake in Missouri.

Divers were searching for five other possible victims that were missing while seven people were taken to hospital following the incident on the “Ride the Ducks” amphibious vehicle on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missour.

Emergency crews responded to the incident shortly after 7pm after thunderstorms rolled through the area, the fire district said on Twitter.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Centre Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident. Two adults were in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7pm Thursday at Branson Airport. The winds were likely stronger over the lake, Linderberg said.

Rescue personnel are seen after an amphibious “duck boat” capsized and sank, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Stone County

Credit:
Reuters

“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” he said.

Multiple dive teams from a number of law enforcement agencies were assisting in the rescue and recovery effort. Mr Rader said the divers ended their search for the night.

“It’s going to be a challenging night and tomorrow,” the sheriff said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that investigators would arrive on the scene Friday morning.

Rescue personnel work after an amphibious “duck boat” capsized and sank, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Stone County

Credit:
Reuters

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. Smagala added this was the Branson tour’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Video footage shot by an eyewitness who was on shore showed strong waves tossing two duck boats side to side. The video clip was posted online by KY3 News.

The man-made lake is a popular tourist draw located in southern Missouri on the border with Arkansas.

Duck amphibious vehicles are used on tourist sightseeing tours around the world and have been involved in a number fatal accidents in the past two decades.

They were originally used by the U.S. military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles. 

The company that builds ducks, Ride the Ducks International LLC, agreed in 2016 to pay a $1 million fine after one of the vehicles collided with a bus in Seattle, killing five international students.

The company admitted to failing to comply with U.S. vehicle manufacturing rules.

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/20/tourist-boat-capsizes-missouri-mass-casualties-feared-storm/

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