|United States : Missouri|
Missouri is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is the 21st most extensive, and the 18th most populous of the fifty states. The state comprises 114 counties, and the independent city of St. Louis.
|Region Added: Tue, 31 Mar 2015|
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Dad on second boat: 'That could have been us'
A man on a second duck boat that made it safely to shore described watching in horror as the other boat sank to the bottom of Table Rock Lake, killing 17 people.
BRANSON, Mo. -- The Lemus family was on vacation enjoying their ride on a duck boat at Table Rock Lake on Thursday when severe storms hit.
"There was no wind 10 minutes before this whole thing happened," Paul Lemus said.
Then moments later, the wind really picked up.
"I think we weren't in there for maybe 10 minutes before the storm really just came in," Lemus said.
Lemus and his family were riding on a second duck boat. They were behind the duck boat that capsized just after 7:00 p.m.
31 people were on the boat that capsized. 17 of them died.
His children captured several videos, showing heavy rains, dark skies, and the boat heavily swaying on the waves.
Lemus said plastic coverings lowered down to cover the open windows to prevent water from entering the boat. The winds were so heavy that he struggled to keep the coverings next to his seat closed.
Lemus said their boat was around 150 feet away from the doomed boat, which was struggling to stay afloat.
"It just stops you in your tracks," said Lemus. "We were right next to the other boat. That could have been us in the boat."
Their boat made it to shore.
Lemus said their boat shoved off into the water around 7:00 p.m., after the captain had to bring in a replacement boat due to a jammed propellor.
Lemus said had that not happened, they'd likely be further out on the water when the storm poured down.
The Lemus family said there were life jackets on board their boat, but no one wore one.
Lemus said the captain explained where the life jackets were located and how to wear one, but they were never instructed to put them on. He said no one expected the weather to get that bad.
"But I think for the future if they are going to keep doing this, I think it's good practice to go in the water with life vests regardless of the situation," Lemus said.
Lemus said his family didn't think to check the forecast because it was sunny.
"Sometimes you assume that the company you entrust yourself with is going to do that for you. I don't know to what extent they did or did not," said Lemus.
His family had a hard time sleeping Thursday night knowing there were fatalities.
"I heard there was a baby on board. I've got a two-year-old little baby and it's just, you can't begin to comprehend. You don't want to think, but those thoughts keep coming back to you; 'What if, what if,'" said Lemus.
He said his family is praying and said they can't point the finger.
"Truth of the matter is, it was just an awful accident that happened and there's nothing we can do about it at this point, but I hope that they do learn from this as far as putting maybe better cautionary measures in for the future."
Smithville Lake boaters react to duck boat crash
Boaters at Smithville Lake said it's hard to fathom the tragedy at Table Rock Lake Thursday night. Seventeen people died after a duck boat capsized and sank amid strong storm winds.
SMITHVILLE, Mo. — Boaters at Smithville Lake said it's hard to fathom the tragedy at Table Rock Lake Thursday night. Seventeen people died after a duck boat capsized and sank amid strong storm winds.
“I can’t imagine the terror that would have went on there,” Richard Hubbard said.
Hubbard owns property at Table Rock Lake and even rode on a duck boat years ago.
“I’ve seen how low they sit in the water, and they aren’t really made for that kind of weather,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard said he thought the storm came up on Table Rock Lake differently than severe weather would approach Smithville Lake
“Well a lot of it is, you can’t see a storm coming up on you. I mean you down there on the ravine and stuff like that. That’s what’s happened to me a lot of the time. You can see the sun shining in the one spot and you turn around and here comes the storm and you’re caught right in it,” Hubbard said.
He said he’s even been caught in a bad storm there before.
“You imagine the storm coming in and then you have all the other waves coming in and there was no other place to go, except keep putting and it’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” Hubbard said.
The wind is something Smithville Lake Chief Park Ranger John Davis said has the most impact on boats.
“It can be dangerous. You can get your boat swamped or some boats can sink. It's something you have to be very cautious of,” Davis said.
Davis also said it's best to avoid these situations, keep your eye on the sky and tabs on the forecast before getting into the lake. Also, make sure to wear a life vest when on a boat. Children 7 years old and younger are required to wear one.
The weather is something that Hubbard keeps in mind as he prays for the families who lost a loved one Thursday.
“It was one of those 'caught in a bad place at the wrong time,' and I don’t know what could have been done about it," Hubbard said.
Former Army duck-boat driver saddened by tragedy
The deaths of 17 people in a duck-boat incident at Table Rock Lake in Branson devastated Korean War veteran Rudy McCallop from Lee's Summit, who was in charge of a fleet of military duck boats during the Korean War.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The deaths of 17 people in a duck-boat incident at Table Rock Lake in Branson devastated Korean War veteran Rudy McCallop from Lee's Summit, who was in charge of a fleet of military duck boats during the Korean War.
McCallop remembers shuttling soldiers from island to island 1950.
He watched the video from Thursday of a duck boat on Table Rock Lake being battered by high waves and strong winds before it capsized and sank to the bottom of the lake in horror.
It all left McCallop, like so many others, wondering why it happened.
"In my personal opinion, it's a tragedy that should never have happened," McCallop said.
McCallop was particularly curious why 31 people were on board the duck boat that capsized. He believes it's too many people.
"We were only allowed to have a squad of men on one duck at one time," he said. "A squad of men consisted of 12 soldiers."
McCallop also wondered if anyone was wearing a life jacket.
A few years ago, he was in Branson and rode in one of the ducks on Table Rock Lake. The driver let McCallop get behind the wheel for ol' time's sake, but he said he was never offered a life jacket and never informed if life jackets were on board.
"I didn't have one (a life jacket) and the rest of the tourists did not have any one," he said. "The main driver did not have any on."
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said life jackets were on the boat that sank, but it's unclear how many, if any, of the passengers and crew were wearing a safety device.
In addition to sheriff's deputies and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, representatives from the Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board and Occupational Safety and Health Administration were in Branson to investigate the crash and the conditions that led to the catastrophe.
SUV critically injures midtown KCMO pedestrian
A woman suffered critical injuries Friday after being hit by an SUV near East 43rd and Main streets.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A woman suffered critical injuries Friday after being hit by an SUV near East 43rd and Main streets.
A second woman also was hit, but her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The driver of the SUV stayed on the scene.
This story will be updated if new information becomes available.
Tragedy at Table Rock Lake: Timeline of events
As the community begins to mourn the 17 people killed after a duck boat capsized and sank Thursday evening, questions remain as to how such a tragedy could have happened.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the community begins to mourn the 17 people killed after a duck boat capsized and sank Thursday evening, questions remain as to how such a tragedy could have happened.
This breakdown shows everything that has happened since as early as 11:30 Thursday morning.
Thursday, July 19
11:30 a.m. — A severe thunderstorm watch is issued for Stone County, Missouri, and surrounding areas.
5:06 p.m. — The National Weather Service in Springfield issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning For Barton, Cedar, Dade and Vernon counties until 6 p.m. These counties are to the north of the Branson area. The storm was moving to the south/southeast.
5:06 p.m. radar
5:11 p.m. — An NWS meteorologist reported the storm was strengthening with 60 MPH west of Nevada, Mo.
5:45 p.m. — NWS issued Thunderstorm Warning for Barry, Cedar, Dade, Greene, Jasper, Lawrence, Newton and Polk counties until 6:30 p.m. These counties are to the north of the Branson area.
5:45 p.m. radar
5:58 p.m. — Local media said the southeast edge of the line of storms going through Joplin was “pretty fierce.”
6:07 p.m. — NWS issued Thunderstorm Warning for Barry, Christian, Greene, Lawrence, Stone and Webster Counties until 6:45 p.m.
6:07 p.m. radar
Approximately 6:11 p.m. — A NWS meteorologist notes the storm line had strengthened considerably with 80 mph winds around Springfield.
6:32 p.m. — NWS issues new Thunderstorm Warning for Barry, Christian, Douglas, Greene, Lawrence, Stone, Webster and Wright Counties until 7:45 p.m.
6:45 p.m. radar
Approximately 7 p.m. — ‘Ride the Ducks’ boat capsizes amid strong winds and waves, then sinks.
7:09 p.m. — First emergency call.
7:12 p.m. — Southern Stone Fire District tweets multiple agencies are responding to an emergency near the Branson Belle.
8:23 p.m. — Southern Stone Fire tweets that the incident is one of mass casualties.
9:30 p.m. — Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader holds a press conference. Death toll at 8.
10:14 p.m. — Cox Health tweets they’ve received seven patients from the incident. Two were in critical condition at the time.
10:54 p.m. — Branson opens City Hall to families of victims.
11:03 p.m. — The American Red Cross arrives to assist the families.
11:23 p.m. — Rader says 3 more bodies have been recovered, bringing the death toll to 11.
11:30 p.m. — Taney County divers called off, with Missouri State Highway Patrol divers taking over in the morning.
Friday, July 20
12:00 a.m. — Media briefing from City of Branson representative reiterating information about city hall and expressing condolences to victims’ families.
6:35 a.m. — Company releases a statement on the incident, calling it a “tragic accident… that has deeply affected all of us,” and saying they would continue to assist the families. The ‘Ride the Ducks’ website is wiped in place of the statement.
7:15 a.m. — Two more bodies are recovered by divers, bringing the death toll to 13.
9:00 a.m. — Rader holds another press conference during which Missouri Gov. Mike Parson makes an appearance. Both ask for the public to be patient with the investigation.
10:35 a.m. — Sheriff declares everyone who was on board accounted for after divers pull four more people from the water. The death toll rises to 17. Seven people were injured, six of whom remain in the hospital. Seven more people are uninjured after being rescued.
11:52 a.m. — Cox Health tweets that Missouri Gov. Mike Parson visited survivors at the hospital.
After 12:00 p.m. — Victims and survivors begin to be identified:
Community members begin to leave flowers at the abandoned cars of the victims, a makeshift memorial is built with teddy bears and candles, and people pray in the 'Ride the Ducks' parking lot.
9 members of Indy family among boat ax victims
Nine members of an Indianapolis family were killed in a duck boat accident near Branson, Missouri, according to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. The names of the Indianapolis victims have not yet been released.
BRANSON, Mo. (AP) -- Nine members of an Indianapolis family were killed in a duck boat accident near Branson, Missouri, according to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. The names of the Indianapolis victims have not yet been released.
17 people died when the boat, which was packed with tourists, capsized and sank in high winds.
Investigators blamed stormy weather for the accident Thursday evening on Table Rock Lake. Winds at the time were blowing as hard as 65 mph (105 kph), according to the National Weather Service.
The boat was carrying 29 passengers and two crew members on a pleasure cruise, and authorities said everyone aboard had been accounted for. Seven of the 14 survivors were hurt when the vessel went down. At least two were hospitalized in critical condition, officials said.
The crew member who was operating the boat died, but the captain survived, authorities said.
Named for their ability to travel on land and in water, duck boats have been involved in other serious accidents in the past, including the deaths of more than 40 people since 1999.
Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus. Thirteen people died in 1999 when a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
“Duck boats are death traps,” said Andrew Duffy, an attorney whose Philadelphia law firm handled litigation related to two fatal duck boat accidents there. “They’re not fit for water or land because they are half car and half boat.”
Safety advocates have sought improvements and complained that too many agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.
The boats were originally designed for the military, specifically to transport troops and supplies in World War II. They were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.
Passengers on a nearby boat described the chaos on the lake as the winds picked up and the water turned rough.
“Debris was flying everywhere,” Allison Lester said in an interview Friday with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Lester’s boyfriend, Trent Behr, said they saw a woman in the water and helped to pull her into the boat. He said he was about to start CPR when an EMT arrived and took over.
The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board were to investigate. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader urged anyone with video or photos of the accident to contact authorities.
Weather conditions were sure to figure prominently in the investigation. The weather service issued a severe thunderstorm watch around midday Thursday, followed by a warning at 6:32 p.m., about 40 minutes before the boat tipped over. Both the watch and a statement issued at 7:02 p.m. mentioned the risk of 70 mph winds.
“When we issue a warning, it means, take action,” said Kelsey Angle, a weather service meteorologist in Springfield.
Divers located the vessel, which came to rest on its wheels on the lakebed, and authorities planned to recover it later Friday.
The boat sank in 40 feet (12 meters) of water and then rolled on its wheels into a deeper area with 80 feet (25 meters) of water. Investigators had no information about whether passengers were wearing life jackets or whether they were stowed onboard, the sheriff said.
An off-duty deputy working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the boat turned over, the sheriff said. Dive teams from several law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort.
Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities. She said this was the ride’s only accident in more than 40 years of operation.
Weather can change rapidly in this part of the country, moving from sunshine and calm to dangerous storms within minutes, said Jason Schaumann, another weather service meteorologist.
“Tornado warnings get a lot of publicity, and severe thunderstorm warnings should be taken very seriously too, particularly if you are in a vulnerable area like a lake or campground,” he said.
Branson, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City, is a country-themed tourist mecca built on a reputation for patriotic and religious-themed shows in numerous theaters.
Table Rock Lake, east of Branson, was created in the late 1950s when the Corps of Army Engineers built a dam across the White River to provide hydroelectric power to the Ozarks.
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