Official reports out of Stone County, Missouri are confirming that 17 of 31 passengers aboard a commercial duck boat that capsized last night have passed away. The boat was touring Table Rock Lake, located near the town of Branson, in the evening when a storm clouded the region. As the lake’s surface churned violently, the duck boat struggled to return to shore before sinking and capsizing.
The squall is believed to have originated from a powerful storm cell that also caused devastating tornadoes in Iowa that same evening. A thunderstorm warning was issued for Stone County around 6:30 PM local time, and the first calls to emergency services about the boat sinking came in approximately 45 minutes later. At this time, it is not known if the duck boat left the shore before or after the thunderstorm warning.
Another boat was touring the lake at the same time. The boat operator and some of its passengers attempted to rescue people on the sinking duck boat. Due to their quick actions, 14 passengers were rescued. The latest statements from local authorities say the deceased range in age from only one-year old up to the elderly.
Ripley Entertainment, the parent company that owns and operates Ride the Ducks Branson, has released a statement offering apologies and condolences to the victims of the boating accident and the surviving families of those who were lost. It has not been confirmed how many passengers were wearing or were provided life jackets. A spokesperson from the sheriff’s department noted that life jackets were onboard the vessel before it sank. An ongoing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, who will release more important information as it is learned.
Our team members of Presley & Presley, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri are heartbroken to hear of this tragedy. To the families of those lost in the accident and all of the survivors, please accept our condolences. To all the people who helped with the rescue attempt, we extend heartfelt gratitude.