UPDATE: Death toll rises to 17 after Branson tourist boat sinks

UPDATE: Death toll rises to 17 after Branson tourist boat sinks

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on a deadly tourist boat accident in Missouri (all times local):

11 a.m.

First responders on the scene of the lake accident Thursday evening –photo courtesy KYTV

Authorities say the final four people missing since a boat capsized on a lake in southern Missouri have been found, raising the death toll to 17.

The office manager at the Stone County Sheriff’s office, Wendy Doucey, confirmed the discovery Friday. The Ride the Ducks boat sank Thursday night in the Lake of the Ozarks near Branson.

The victims’ names haven’t been released.

Branson is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists.

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10:30 a.m.

Authorities are working to recover a duck boat that capsized and sank in a southern Missouri lake, killing more than a dozen people.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said during a news conference Friday that he believes the boat sank in 40 feet  of water and rolled into 80 feet of water. He says the Missouri State Highway Patrol divers have located the vessel, which is on its wheels in Table Rock Lake in the Branson area. Authorities plan to recover the boat later Friday.

He says the first call about the capsized boat came in at 7:09 p.m. Thursday. He says authorities are working to determine what happened and had no information about whether passengers were wearing life jackets or whether they were just stowed onboard.

The victims’ names haven’t been released.
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9:30 a.m.
Authorities say the four people still missing after a duck boat capsized in southern Missouri are presumed dead, in addition to the 13 people whose bodies have been recovered.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader described the search as a “recovery mode for the bodies that are still missing” during a news conference Friday morning.

Rader says the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died but that the captain survived when the boat sank Thursday night in Table Rock Lock in the Branson area. Thirteen victims already have been found.

Rader says an off-duty deputy aboard the nearby Showboat Branson Belle and others on the riverboat jumped in to help the duck boat’s passengers. He described the rescue effort as “outstanding.”

Branson is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists.
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9 a.m.

The National Weather Service is warning of a fresh round of thunderstorms, as divers search for four people missing after a duck boat capsized on a lake in southwest Missouri.

Meteorologist Jason Schaumann says some of the storms are expected to churn up large hail and damaging straight line winds when they hit Friday afternoon in the Branson area where the Ride the Ducks boat sank. The bodies of 13 victims already have been found.

Schaumann says wind gusts of 50 to 65 mph (80 to 105 kph) were recorded around the time the boat capsized Thursday night in Table Rock Lake after a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued. He says the weather was calm in the search area overnight and that the area narrowly avoided more storms Friday morning.

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8:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is extending his “deepest sympathies” to those affected by a Missouri boat accident that has killed at least 13.

In a Friday morning tweet, the president sends his: “deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in the terrible boat accident which just took place in Missouri.”

He adds: “Such a tragedy, such a great loss. May God be with you all!”

Local officials said 14 people survived the sinking of a duck boat and four others remain missing after the accident Thursday evening on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.

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8:05 a.m.

A witness has described the wind-borne chaos as a duck boat capsized and sank in a lake in southwest Missouri.

Allison Lester told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Friday that the “waters were rough” and “debris was flying everywhere” Thursday evening when the Ride the Ducks boat sank in Table Rock Lake in Branson. Lester was on a nearby boat.

Thirteen people were killed and four others are missing.

Lester’s boyfriend, Trent Behr, says he saw a woman lying in the water and that they pulled her up onto the boat. He says she was unconscious and that he was getting ready to start CPR when emergency responders arrived.

Branson is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists.

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7:30a.m.

Authorities say divers have found two more bodies after a duck boat carrying tourists capsized in southwest Missouri, bringing the death toll to 13.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace says four others remain missing Friday after the accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson Thursday evening. He says 14 others survived, but that seven were injured.

Pace says those who died ranged in age from 1 to 70-years old.

Branson is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists looking for entertainment ranging from theme parks to live music.

4a.m.

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) – Dive teams are expected to resume the search for five people missing after a tourist boat capsized and sank in a southwestern Missouri lake.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader says at least 11 people, including children, died when the Ride the Ducks boat sank Thursday night on Table Rock Lake in Branson. Seven other people were hospitalized.

Rader says the stormy weather was believed to be the cause of the capsizing. Another boat on the lake was able to safely make it back to shore.

National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Lindenberg says the agency had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area, and winds reached speeds of more than 60 mph.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that investigators are expected to arrive on the scene Friday.

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BRANSON, Mo. (AP) — At least 11 people, including children, died after a boat carrying tourists on a Missouri lake capsized and sank Thursday night, the local sheriff said.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said five people remain missing and seven others were hospitalized after a Ride the Ducks boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson.

A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Center Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident. Two adults were in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.

Rader said the stormy weather was believed to be the cause of the capsizing. Another duck boat on the lake was able to safely make it back to shore.

Steve Lindenberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, said the agency issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area Thursday evening. Lindenberg said winds reached speeds of more than 60 mph.

“It’s a warning telling people to take shelter,” he said.

Rader said an off-duty sheriff’s deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the accident.

Dive teams from a number of law enforcement agencies were assisting in the effort, but the sheriff said the divers ended their search for the night.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that investigators will arrive on the scene Friday morning.

Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. Smagala added this was the Branson tour’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Branson is about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists looking for entertainment ranging from theme parks to live music.

Duck boats, known for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. They include one in 2015 in Seattle in which five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus, and one in 1999 that left 13 people dead after the boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident. Critics argued that part of the problem is numerous agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.

Duck boats were originally used by the U.S. military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.