BRANSON, MO—Seventeen people were killed and seven others were injured after a boat flipped over in on the waters of Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri on Thursday, July 19. According to reports, the duck boat operator was warned beforehand of dangers. The boat was raised on Monday, July 23. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident
Steve Paul, a mechanical inspector who inspected the boat, indicated that the boats’ canopies were potential “death traps,” noting if the boat sunk, people would be trapped under the canopy. CBS News reported that Paul had explained in his report of the boats how the engines could fail in dangerous weather, such as that of a thunderstorm. According to Fox News, an anonymous source stated there was no warning about the boats. The Coast Guard indicated the boats passed inspection in February.
Meteorologist Elisa Raffa said, “This storm didn’t come out of nowhere.” Warnings for the storm had been issued eight hours before the boat ride by the National Weather Service, according to reports. The boat faced winds of up to 70 mph and 4 to 6 foot waves.
There were a total of 30 people were on the duck boat during the incident. Tia Coleman, a survivor noted during a press conference that the captain of the boat informed passengers they would not need life jackets. “He said I’m going to show you where they are, but you won’t need them. So no need to worry. So we didn’t grab them,” said Coleman during a press conference.
Other survivors of the incident include teenager Loren Smith, 14, who lost her father Steve and her brother, Lance, during the incident.
Coleman lost nine family members during the incident. None of the victims were wearing life jackets, when the boat flipped over during the storm. Ripley Entertainment owns Ride the Duck Tours. No charges have been filed in the case, which is still under investigation.