This morning, diving crews are searching Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri for 4 people who were thrown overboard in a disastrous duck boat accident last night. Ride the Ducks, a nationwide tourism service operating in Branson, had 31 people aboard when it went out on to the water last night. Stormy weather, including 65 mph winds, capsized the boat—killing 13 and injuring 7.
BREAKING: This is video of what the waves were like on Table Rock Lake in Missouri tonight when the duck boat capsized. Man in this video says, “Never quite seen it this bad. Boats can’t get in. Boats can’t get out.” (Credit: Lakeside Resort) pic.twitter.com/HxB8aY2u0a— Mike Saccone (@mikesacconetv) July 20, 2018
Multiple law enforcement agencies sent their diving teams to help with the rescue and recovery effort. The 7 injured people, 4 adults and 3 kids, were taken to Cox Medical Center Branson. At least 2 of the adults are in critical condition.
CNN reports that children are among the dead.
Why Duck Boats Accidents Tend Towards Tragedy
Duck boats were originally designed for military use during WWII. Because they can travel on land and water—thus, "duck" boats—they served as troop and supply transport vehicles. They were eventually transformed into sightseeing vehicles, used as waterfront tourist attractions by companies like Ripley Entertainment, who owns Ride the Ducks.
Duck boats have a canopy that can make escaping the boat difficult in an emergency (but offers little protection as a trade-off). Just 3 years ago, 5 college students were killed in a Seattle duck boat accident. In 2010, 2 people were killed in a duck boat accident in Philadelphia. In 1999, a duck boat accident killed 13 when one sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
An Ignored Thunderstorm Warning?
Meteorologist Jason Schaumann urges Branson business owners to take thunderstorm warnings seriously. He mentioned that storms can develop rapidly in that part of the country, turning a sunny day into a maelstrom within minutes. Just before the boat tipped over at 6:32 PM last night, authorities issued a severe thunderstorm warning. Ripley Entertainment president Jim Pattison Jr. told CBS This Morning that the boat "shouldn't have been in the water." Investigators from the NTSB should be on the scene by now.
Our duck boat accident lawyers are monitoring the story for updates.