At least 11 dead, five missing after ‘duck boat’ capsizes in Missouri

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At least 11 dead, five missing after ‘duck boat’ capsizes in Missouri

Updated

July 20, 2018 15:49:16

At least 11 people, including children, are confirmed dead after an amphibious “duck boat” capsized and sank in stormy weather on a lake in Missouri with 31 people on board.

Divers suspended their search at 11.15pm local time and are scheduled to re-start in the morning.

Authorities believe five people are still missing.

Seven people were taken to hospital following the incident on the Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle on Table Rock Lake, near Branson, Missouri, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told reporters.

“At this time we have 11 confirmed fatalities,” Sheriff Rader said in a televised media briefing.

He would not say how many children were among the dead.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Centre Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident.

Two adults are in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.

“Of the seven who were transported, only one of them had serious injuries, the rest of them were moderate injuries,” Mr Rader said.

Video footage shot by an eyewitness who was on shore showed waves tossing two duck boats side to side. The video clip was posted online by television news station KY3 in Springfield, Missouri.

The Stone County Sheriff said the boats had trouble navigating through the heavy winds.

“They were coming back towards land,” Mr Rader said.

“There were actually two ducks, one of them made it out and the second one didn’t.”

Mr Rader said the company’s owners were cooperating with the rescue mission.

“Our number one priority is the families and our employees that were affected by this tragic accident, as of this time right now we are assisting the authorities as they continue with their search and rescue operation,” said Suzanne Smagala-Potts, a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, which owns the Ride The Ducks operation in Branson.

She could not confirm how many crew members were aboard the boat.

Mr Rader said a Stone County Sheriff’s Deputy was on the boat at the time and jumped into the water to rescue people, while staff of another tourist boat were also helping.

Emergency crews responded to the incident shortly after 7:00pm (local time) after thunderstorms rolled through the area, the fire district said on Twitter.

United States National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 101 kilometres per hour was measured at a nearby airport at around the same time.

The winds were likely to have been stronger over the lake, Mr Linderberg said.

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

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

The company that builds ducks, Ride the Ducks International, agreed in 2016 to pay a $1.35 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 US vehicle manufacturing rules.

Reuters/AP

Topics:

accidents,

disasters-and-accidents,

tourism,

united-states

First posted

July 20, 2018 13:27:47

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