Survivor of duck boat accident describes horrific scene

Seventeen dead, more missing after storm sinks 'duck boat'

The duck boat, which had life jackets on board, was owned by Ride the Ducks Branson, a tourism company that takes people on tours of the Ozarks through land and water using the amphibious vehicles. Children were among the 17 killed, officials said.

The pastor of Zion Tabernacle Apostolic Church said the family was close to his church, but weren't members. At least two were in a critical condition in hospital.

He said the captain of the boat, who has 16 years of experience, survived, but the driver did not.

Jeffrey Goodman, who has represented people injured in past duck boat accidents, said the vessels should be banned.

"The captain told us: 'Don't worry about grabbing the life jackets, you won't need them, ' so nobody grabbed them because we listened to the captain and he told us to stay seated", Coleman said.

Tia Coleman, a survivor of the deadliest accident of its kind in almost two decades, said she lost all of her children in the tragedy, but it is unclear how many that is.

"I can't process it enough to think half of the people if not more died yesterday", Lemus said.

Children under the age of the seven are required to wear a life jacket whenever they are on a boat "unless they are in the cabin area of a houseboat or cruiser", according to boating laws on the Missouri government website. "Out of 11 of us, only two of us surviving - that's me and my nephew", Coleman told Fox59.

The company that owned the duck boat, Ripley Entertainment, said that it was working with families of the victims.

The National Transportation Safety Board was to send a team early Friday to investigate the incident, the agency said.

"Hearing this happen is just devastating", said Koehler. That will happen in the coming days, according to the USCG.

A severe thunderstorm whipped up the wind, and waves that battered the duck boat, which quickly took on water.

But cell phone video recorded from a passenger on a nearby showboat captured Lemus' duck boat struggling along with another one a short distance away.

First responders from multiple agencies responded to the incident, initially reported as a "mass casualty incident" involving a "tourist type boat" on Table Rock Lake.

An investigation into the matter is underway, said officials.

He told the Associated Press, "They're not fit for water or land because they are half auto and half boat".

"Debris was flying everywhere", Allison Lester said in an interview Friday. Among them were a popular duck boat driver, a father and son visiting from Arkansas, and nine relatives from IN, many of them children, who were on the ill-fated boat only because of a mix-up. I went over to Walmart and I just put a flower on each one of the windshields.

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.

The Thursday night accident was one of the deadliest U.S. tourist incidents in recent years. We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved.

"Our number one priority is the families and our employees that were affected by this tragic accident", spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts said Thursday. Words can not convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking.

"Emergency responders and civilian rescuers helped avert an even worse tragedy as people rushed to help in extremely risky conditions", Parson said in a statement.

The NTSB urged witnesses to share any videos or photos and warned that it could be up to a year before it releases a final conclusion on the case.

"It's important that we find out for sure what events did occur", Governor Michael Parson said at a Friday morning news conference. "Our prayers are with the victims and their loved ones. We will provide updates as we have additional, confirmed information to share".

President Donald Trump also tweeted his condolences on Friday morning.

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