UPDATE: Missouri duck boat accident leaves 17 dead, including children

Stone County Sheriff says all 31 on board the duck have been accounted for.

Posted: Jul. 20, 2018 8:25 AM
Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 10:47 AM

A tourist duck boat capsized in a lake near Branson, Missouri, amid powerful storms, killing 17 people, including children, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

The Thursday night accident also injured seven people, officials said. A total of 29 passengers and two crew members were on board the amphibious craft at the time, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said. All 31 have now been accounted for in the tragedy.

Severe evening thunderstorms, including winds in excess of 60 mph, struck the area at the time of the sinking.

Eyewitness video showed the craft, which travels on land and water, taking on water as waves lashed at its sides.

"The wind really picked up bad and debris was flying everywhere,” Allison Lester, who was on a nearby boat, told "Good Morning America” Friday. "The waters were rough.”

Lester's boyfriend, Trent Behr, added: "We actually heard the captain say the boat flipped or the boat was sinking.”

Behr saw a woman lying in the water where he ran down to help, he said.

"We eventually did pull her up onto the boat," Behr said. "She was unconscious. I was about ready to start CPR and the EMT did show up at that time."

Suzanne Smagala-Potts of Ride the Ducks Branson, the company involved in the accident, said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident."

"This incident has deeply affected all of us," Smagala-Potts said. "We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved and the authorities as they continue with the search and rescue. The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority."

"My deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in the terrible boat accident which just took place in Missouri," President Trump tweeted Friday. "Such a tragedy, such a great loss. May God be with you all!"

"Very sad to hear about this horrible accident," Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tweeted, "prayers for all those involved and the first responders who are assisting."

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it is sending a team to investigate.

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