Boat capsizes and sinks in Missouri lake; 13 dead

Another seven people were hospitalized and an unknown number were missing after the accident on Table Rock Lake, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told a news conference.

Published: 20th July 2018 10:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th July 2018 06:25 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only.

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON: A tourist boat capsized and sank Thursday during a fierce storm on a lake in Missouri, killing at least 13 people, the local sheriff said.

The incident on Table Rock Lake which happened as thunderstorms rumbled through the US Midwest left another seven people hospitalized while at least five were still missing, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told journalists, saying some of the dead were children.

The local branch of the Cox Medical Center said two people were in critical condition, while the sheriff added several people had made it to shore.

Divers had arrived at the scene to assist in the search, Rader said, ending the rescue efforts for the night at 11:00 pm (0400 GMT Friday), with plans to resume operations in the morning.

Rescue crews work at the scene of a deadly boat accident at Table Rock Lake. (Photo | AP)

Rader said 31 people had been aboard the amphibious vessel, known as a duck boat for its wheels that allow it to ride on land in addition to floating low on the water.

He said the incident was caused by heavy winds, saying the tour boat had been making its way to land. Two boats had been on the water, according to Rader, one of which returned safely.

The man-made lake where the boat sank is a popular tourist draw located in southern Missouri near the city of Branson, on the border with Arkansas.

Rick Kettels, who owns the Lakeside Resort on the shores of Table Rock Lake, said the storm appeared to come out of nowhere.

"It just came up real quick," he told AFP, saying the severe weather struck around 6:15 pm local time. 

"I've been here most of my life and I never saw a storm this bad," he said, adding that he had not seen a warning from local weather stations.

- 'Big at its heart' -

When the storm seemed imminent he had rushed to the lake to urge guests and boats to evacuate, as rough waves began slamming into his resort pier.

Steve Lindenberg, a meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri some 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Branson, told AFP a string of severe thunderstorms had barreled through the area causing significant tree damage and downed power lines.

At that office meteorologists had clocked winds at 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour), issuing a warning to the area at approximately 6:30 pm.

Branson airport had experienced a peak gust of 63 miles per hour, Lindenberg said.

"Our hearts are heavy tonight," the City of Branson said in a statement. "This is a very trying time for all those who are involved."

"The City of Branson may be small in size but it is big at its heart."

Branson's City Hall was open to victims, family members and survivors, with support from the Red Cross as well as city officials.

The National Transportation Safety Board was to send a team early Friday to investigate the incident, the agency said.

Branson, Missouri is a vacation destination popular for its theaters and country music, including singer Dolly Parton's Civil War-themed attraction.

The company Ripley Entertainment owns the capsized boat, having added Branson's "Ride the Ducks" attraction to its roster last year. 

"Ride the Ducks" is a seasonal tour through the area's famed Ozarks region. 

Ripley Entertainment spokeswoman Suzanne Smagala-Potts said in a statement the company would "do all we can to assist the families who were involved and the authorities as they continue with the search and rescue."

The incident in Missouri was part of a storm system that struck much of the Midwest late Thursday, according to meteorologists.

Several tornadoes tore through the state of Iowa just north of Missouri, causing injuries as well as damage to a number of buildings. No fatalities were reported there.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp