Sheriff: 4 missing from boat are presumed dead

US Duck boat tragedy

There had been wind gusts of more than 60 miles per hour reported at Branson Airport at the time of the tragic accident. Winds picked up quickly while we were on the water so the captain told us we were going to have to return to shore.

The National Transportation Safety Board and US Coast Guard are investigating. "I do feel sad and I can feel for the loss of the families, knowing that they are now without their loved ones while they are here", said Wade.

Tragedy struck when the duck boat carrying 29 passengers got caught in a fast-moving storm; Mike Tobin reports from Branson, Missouri.

Coleman also said that her husband would have wanted her to speak out about what she said happened before the accident.

Video footage captured from the lakeshore showed two amphibious vessels, known as duck boats for their ability to operate on land and water, struggling to move through the waves.

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

Barlow says there are ways to stay safe on the water like having life jackets and checking the weather constantly - even when you expect a sunny clear day.

An off-duty deputy working security helped rescue people, Rader said, without providing details.

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A woman who lost nine relatives when a tourist boat sank in a Missouri lake has said that the captain told passengers not to put on life jackets. "They were coming back toward land".

"The first one made it out, and the second one didn't", Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said during a press conference.

Steve Lindenberg, a meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri some 72 kilometres north of Branson, said a string of severe thunderstorms had barrelled through the area, causing significant tree damage and downed power lines. Dive teams from several law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort.

"You drown if you do, you drown if you don't", said Robert Mongeluzzi, who is calling for federal and state transport officials to immediately halt all duck boat operations.

The vessel was owned by Ripley Entertainment company, whose "Ride the Ducks" website on Saturday said the business is closed "while we support the investigation".

"You know, they have a very good record", he added about the Ride the Ducks company.

The boat sank in a severe storm on Thursday evening, according to the office.

In 1999, a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas, which also killed 13 people. Nonetheless, the accident has reignited a long-standing debate over the safety of duck boats, which one lawyer called "death traps" in an interview with TIME.

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