Update: Death Toll 17 in Branson Duck Boat Accident



BRANSON, Mo. — The fatality count is now at 17 in the duck boat accident, according to Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader. 

County authorities say that everyone who was on the boat has been accounted for.

Officials say 31 people were reported on board the boat; 14 survived.

Original story:

BRANSON, Mo. —  Divers discovered two additional bodies Friday morning following a tourist boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson.

Just after 7:00 p.m. Thursday night, a Ride the Ducks boat went under the water in the midst of high waves and winds on Table Rock Lake. 

Missouri State Highway Patrol told our sister station 13 people have died, four are still missing, and 14 survived. 

Divers were performing searches until 11:30 p.m. Thursday.  Search efforts were halted due to darknesss, but will resume today (July 20).  The Missouri Highway Patrol dive team will take over the water recovery in the morning.

50 mile per winds caused waves that would eventually capsize a Ride the Ducks vessel on Table Rock Lake. 

Trent Behr and his girlfriend witnessed the event aboard the Showboat Branson Belle, and pulled one of the victims out of the water.

“We finally pulled her back up there and a gentleman, I believe he was an EMT, started CPR,” Bahr said.

“There was actually a Stone County Sheriff’s deputy on the boat. He was in the water rescuing people. There was also staff from the Showboat Branson Belle trying to help the rescue.”

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader would confirm 11 fatalities, including children. There were still 6 missing individuals as divers called off their search around midnight. 

Families members, hoping to connect with loved ones, gathered at the Branson City Hall.  By Friday morning, someone had left flowers on the windshields of cars in the parking lot, reflecting community support for the victims.

“We are doing our best as a city to do whatever it is we can to help in this situation,” said Melody Pettit, spokesperson for the City of Branson.

Ride the Ducks Branson is owned locally by Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, but as a national franchise, has faced numerous high profile safety concerns.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently seeking witness accounts, in what is likely to be an on-going investigation.  

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson reached out to Governor Mike Parson of Missouri about the tragic  incident.

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