Nine of the 17 people who drowned when an amphibious “duck boat” carrying 31 people capsized in stormy weather in Missouri were from the same family.
Another two members of that family survived, said a spokeswoman for Mike Parson, the Missouri governor.
Tia Coleman told WXIN-TV in Indianapolis that she and a nephew were among 11 relatives on a duck boat Thursday night on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. Coleman says she lost “all my children” but she did not say how many.
Coleman says the captain of the boat told passengers, “Don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets – you won’t need them.”
She says by the time it was clear life jackets were needed, “it was too late.”
An email seeking comment from a spokeswoman for Ripley Entertainment, which owns the Ride the Ducks boat, was not immediately returned.
Divers discovered four more bodies on Friday, and officials said all bodies have now been recovered from the accident.
The ages of the victims ranged from one to 70 years old, according to Missouri Highway Patrol.
The vessel sank in 40ft of water before rolling to a final depth of 80ft, posing a challenge for divers attempting to recover the victims who remained in the vehicle when it sank.
Fourteen people survived, including seven who were injured when the boat went down, and were taken to hospital.
Emergency crews responded to the incident shortly after 7pm as thunderstorms rolled through the area, the fire district said on Twitter.
A spokeswoman for the Cox Medical Centre Branson said four adults and three children arrived at the hospital shortly after the incident. Two adults were in critical condition and the others were treated for minor injuries, Brandei Clifton said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7pm Thursday at Branson Airport. The winds were likely stronger over the lake, Linderberg said.
“There’s nothing to slow down winds in an open area,” he said.
Multiple dive teams from a number of law enforcement agencies were assisting in the rescue and recovery effort. Mr Rader said the divers ended their “challenging” search on Thursday night before resuming their efforts on Friday morning.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board made their way to the scene on Friday morning to establish how the accident occurred.
Suzanne Smagala with Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. Smagala added this was the Branson tour’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation.
Video footage shot by an eyewitness who was on shore showed strong waves tossing two duck boats side to side. The video clip was posted online by KY3 News.
The man-made lake is a popular tourist draw located in southern Missouri on the border with Arkansas.
Duck amphibious vehicles are used on tourist sightseeing tours around the world and have been involved in a number fatal accidents in the past two decades.
They were originally used by the U.S. military in World War II to transport troops and supplies, and later were modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.
The company that builds ducks, Ride the Ducks International LLC, agreed in 2016 to pay a $1 million fine after one of the vehicles collided with a bus in Seattle, killing five international students.
The company admitted to failing to comply with US vehicle manufacturing rules.
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