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11 dead in Branson, Missouri, after tourist boat accident on Table Rock Lake

11 dead in Branson, Missouri, after tourist boat accident on Table Rock Lake

News-Leader Staff
Published 8:34 p.m. CT July 19, 2018 | Updated 12:30 a.m. CT July 20, 2018

BRANSON — Eleven people, including at least one child, are dead after an amphibious duck boat capsized Thursday evening on Table Rock Lake.

At least seven other passengers were injured, including one in serious condition.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader updated the casualty information just after 11 p.m. Thursday. The Ride the Ducks tourist boat sank near the Showboat Branson Belle with a reported 31 people on board. 

Rader said emergency personnel were still searching for at least five people.

CoxHealth said in a statement victims were being treated at Cox Branson. 


Stone County sheriff updates on casualties.
Nathan Papes, News-Leader

Spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell said the patients were a mix of adults and children. She said the hospital routinely practices for emergency events like this and Thursday night was an all-hands-on-deck situation.

Rader said a sheriff’s deputy was off duty working security at the scene and helped rescue people. Recovery efforts continued after dark, with some passengers still unaccounted for. A dive team from Western Taney County was in the water and a team from the Missouri State Highway Patrol was responding, as well.

“It’s going to be a challenging night,” he said.

MORE: First responders to Branson duck boat sinking: ‘Tell ’em to send every truck they’ve got.’

Rader said family members of missing passengers should go to Branson City Hall. The city also set up a hotline for family: 417-337-8515.

Branson officials offered City Hall as a place where survivors of the duck boat capsizing could reunite with family members and people could grieve with chaplains and psychiatrists.

“This is a very tough night,” said Melody Pettit, spokeswoman for the city.

The Red Cross responded to offer aid. 

Asked how citizens could help, Pettit said all officials are asking for at this point is love and prayers.

First responders from multiple agencies responded to the incident, initially reported as a “mass casualty incident” involving a “tourist type boat” on Table Rock Lake.

Divers staged near the Showboat Branson Belle, according to an early statement issued by the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District.

The statement, issued at 8:20 p.m., specified that the Branson Belle itself was not involved.

Rader said weather was thought to have caused the Ride the Ducks boat to capsize. Weather reports had high wind hitting the area about 7 p.m.

Capt. Jim Pulley, owner of Sea Tow Table Rock Lake, said the storm hit the lake with 80 mph winds that kicked up waves five feet high.


Jennie P. Carr was on the Showboat Branson Belle during the storm today and caught the incident on video.
Jennie P. Carr, Submitted

He said his Sea Tow boats were helping with crowd control near the site where the Duck boat capsized a short distance behind the Showboat Branson Belle, which was tied to its dock.

“Western Taney County has got divers in the water where the Duck boat went down,” Pulley said. “The Ducks have a ramp access where they put in, and when the wind hit it pushed the boat right square behind the Branson Belle.”

Pulley said several docks also broke loose during the wind storm, and the Water Patrol helped rescue two personal watercraft boats that capsized in the wind. 

MORE: State Park Marina sent help to capsized Table Rock duck boat: ‘We took immediate action’


Crews are working at the scene of a “mass casualty incident” involving a “tourist type boat” on Table Rock Lake.
Springfield News-Leader

A spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks, said the company was aware of an incident involving one of its tour boats. The schedule for Thursday showed there were tours every 30 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Crews from multiple agencies are on scene of a “mass casualty incident” involving a “tourist type boat” on Table Rock Lake, Stone County, Branson. Taney County assisting. Several patients transported to area hospital. Divers on scene.

Steve Linderberg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said a severe line of storms blew through the Springfield area between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. “We had a line of very strong thunderstorms that caused 74 mph winds here in Springfield,” he said.

Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured at the Branson Airport near 7 p.m. Thursday. He said the winds were likely stronger over the lake.

“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” he said.

MORE: Eyewitness to storm that sank duck boat: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it’


Lakeside Resort Restaurant and General Store shared a Facebok video showing gigantic waves slamming their boats during the storm on Thursday, July 19, 2018.
Lakeside Resort Restaurant and General Store

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