Seventeen people are dead from a Ride the Ducks boat overturning and sinking last night in southwest Missouri’s Branson. Seven people have been hurt – at least two have critical injuries.
All the victims have been recovered. Fourteen people survived the tragedy.
Jim Pattison Junior, the president of Ripley Entertainment, which owns the duck boat tour company, tells CBS This Morning a powerful storm reportedly came out of nowhere.
“I don’t have all the details, but to answer your question, no, it shouldn’t have been in the water if, if what happened, happened,” he says from Branson. “This business has been operating for 47 years and we’ve never had an incident like this or anything close to it. To the best of our knowledge – and we don’t have a lot of information now – but it was a fast-moving storm that came out of basically nowhere is sort of the verbal analysis I’ve got.”
Missourinet affiliate KRZK in Branson reports a severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for the Branson area when the boat capsized at about 7:09 p.m.
The captain of the boat did survive; the driver did not.
Pattison says the boats have life jackets, but passengers are not required by law to wear them.
“Usually the lake is very placid and it’s not a long tour, they go in and kind of around an island and back. We had other boats in the water earlier and it had been a great, sort of calm experience,” Pattison says. “You know, they have a very good record. So, again, this seems to be sort of almost a micro storm effect of something that no one was expecting to happen the way that it did.”
The National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating the disaster.
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