Names of duck boat victims released, driver was longtime pastor


The man-made lake where the boat sank is a popular tourist draw located in southern Missouri near the city of Branson, on the border with Arkansas.

Tragically, 17 people are dead after a horrific duck boat accident in Missouri.

Nine relatives were among 17 people killed when a boat carrying tourists sank during a storm earlier this week in the U.S. state of Missouri, according to officials.

Cellphone video taken by a witness showed the boat struggling to move on the water before it was hit by waves and then sank.

Officials blamed the accident on stormy weather.

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

"We had a line of very strong thunderstorms that caused 74 miles per hour winds here in Springfield", he told the newspaper, noting that winds were likely stronger on the lake.

"They are unsafe on land and on water".

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Also killed were 64-year-old Leslie Dennison of IL and 15-year-old Lance Smith and 53-year-old Steve Smith from Arkansas.

Passengers on a nearby boat described the scene as chaotic and said the winds picked up suddenly, sending debris flying everywhere.

And even though all duck boats are required to have life jackets aboard, typically stowed beneath those canopies, the report said the passengers buoyancy in that 1999 accident "forced them into the overhead canopy which acted like a net to entrap them".

Pattison said the captain of the boat, who survived, had 16 years of experience.

"Oh my God, those poor people, oh no!" someone says in the background as the water crashes into the smaller boats.

The cruise happened as a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the Branson area.

"The incident is now under investigation, so it would not be prudent for us to comment or speculate as to what may have caused the incident, but extreme weather seems to have been a major factor", Bob Schwartz, the director of marketing and sales for Boston Duck Tours, said in a statement Friday.

During a press conference, Sheriff Doug Rader could not say whether passengers were wearing life vests at the time of the capsizing, or if the boat's windows were open.

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Another family member Carolyn Coleman stated two of her brother-in-laws had died in the accident.

"These people showed an awesome strength maybe that we don't always give them credit for", Cox said by telephone.

He said the business monitored the weather and that the water was calm when the boat went into the lake.

Philadelphia: Two tourists died in 2010 when the duck boat they were riding in was struck by a tugboat in the Delaware River.

Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus.

There was actually another duck boat on the water at the time.

Seventeen people died when the pleasure boat capsized.

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