BRANSON, Mo. — A duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, killed 17 people Thursday night, including the boat’s driver and nine members of an Indiana family, according to authorities. Fourteen other people were injured.
Update 12:50 p.m. EDT July 22: The 17 people killed in the duck boat accident have all been identified, according to The Associated Press. They are:
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Indiana family members 45-year-old Angela Coleman, 1-year-old Arya Coleman, 69-year-old Belinda Coleman, 76-year-old Ervin Coleman, 7-year-old Evan Coleman, 40-year-old Glenn Coleman, 70-year-old Horace Coleman, 2-year-old Maxwell Coleman, and 9-year-old Reece Coleman.
Missouri natives 69-year-old William Asher, 68-year-old Rosemarie Hamann, 63-year-old Janice Bright, 65-year-old William Bright, and 73-year-old Bob Williams.
Arkansas natives 53-year-old Steve Smith and 15-year-old Lance Smith.
Illinois native Leslie Dennison, 64.
Update 8:45 a.m. EDT July 21: The Stone County coroner confirmed to KSDK that William Asher, 69, and his girlfriend, Rose Hamann, were among those killed in Thursday night's duck boat accident in Missouri.
The news station reported that the couple lived in St. Louis County, Missouri. They were visiting Branson to celebrate Hamann's birthday, which was on Monday, according KSDK.
Todd Dennison's mother, 64-year-old Leslie Dennison, was also killed in the boat accident, the Kansas City Star reported. In an emotional and brief interview Friday, Todd Dennison told the newspaper that his mother was visiting Branson with his 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, and that they were together for less than an hour before they boarded the duck boat.
He told the Star that while in the hospital on Thursday night, his daughter told him that she could feel her grandmother pushing her upward from below while the boat was sinking.
"She said her grandmother saved her," Todd Dennison told the Star.
Update 1:30 a.m. EDT July 21: Authorities have identified more victims in the duck boat accident.
Steve Smith and his teenage son, Lance Smith, from Osceola, Arkansas, were among those killed in the crash.
Steve Smith’s daughter, Loren Smith, suffered a concussion during the accident but survived.
Smith’s wife, Pam Smith, opted to stay behind and was not on the boat.
William and Janice Bright from Higginsville, Missouri, near Kansas City, were also identified as victims in the crash.
WDAF reports that the couple had three children, 16 grandchildren and had been married for 45 years.
"My great nieces and nephews now have no grandparents," Karen Abbott, William Bright's sister, told WDAF.
Update 11:00 p.m. EDT July 20: A summer vacation ended in tragedy for nine members of an Indiana family, along with eight other tourists, killed when a duck boat capsized Thursday evening on a lake in Branson, Missouri.
The Coleman family had traveled to Branson for their annual road trip, according to The New York Times, which interviewed Carolyn Coleman.
Coleman said she lost two of her brothers-in-law and that three generations of the family died in the accident, including four young children, the Times reported.
"We just lost some wonderful people," she said.
The Indianapolis Star reported that the four children killed in the accident were all under the age of 10.
"They were very loved," Ingrid Coleman Douglas said in a telephone interview with the Star.
Coleman Douglas said the victims included two of her uncles, cousins and their children.
"It's a huge family on all sides. It's unimaginable. I would never have thought I would have lost this number of people this way," she said.
Members of the Coleman family. (Gary Coleman)
Coleman Douglas identified the victims as her uncles Horace "Butch" Coleman and Irving Raymond Coleman; Horace Coleman's wife, Belinda Coleman; her cousins, Angela Coleman and Glenn Coleman; Angela's 2-year-old son Maxwell; Glenn's two sons Evan and Reece; and his 1-year-old daughter, Arya.
Glenn's wife, Tia Coleman, and Angela's older son, whose name has not been released, survived the accident, the Star reported.
Update 5:15 p.m. EDT July 20: Stone County authorities now say all 17 of the victims in the duck boat accident have been accounted for and that nine of the victims were from the same family, according to Gov. Mike Parson's office. Two members of the family, identified by local news outlets as the Coleman family, survived. Officials said the victims range in age from 1 to 70 years old.
Meantime, mourners are putting flowers on the victims’ cars in the Ride the Ducks parking lot, and the community of Branson, Missouri, is holding several candlelight vigils Friday night in memory of those killed.
One of the vigils is scheduled at Table Rock Lake where the accident happened, according to KY3-TV.
Update 4:30 p.m. EDT, July 20: Family and friends are mourning the staggering loss of life on Table Rock Lake on Thursday evening.
One woman lost nine members of her family, USA Today reported, citing Gov. Mike Parson's office.
Update 2:20 p.m. EDT July 20: Branson Mayor Karen Best told The Associated Press that Bob Williams, the man who was driving the Ride the Ducks boat that sunk Thursday in a southwest Missouri lake, was a "great ambassador for Branson" who "was at every event."
Seventeen people died, including Williams, and 14 others were injured Thursday when the duck boat capsized in Table Rock Lake, according to authorities.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said earlier Friday that the boat's captain survived.
In a statement posted on Facebook, employees of Ride the Ducks Branson said the business would be closed "while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community."
"This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking," the statement said. "Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time."
Update 11:40 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said Friday morning that authorities recovered four more bodies after a duck boat capsized in southwest Missouri, KSMU reported, bringing the death toll from Thursday's incident to 17.
Rader said 14 people were taken to hospitals after the incident. He said the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died. The captain survived.
Update 11:20 a.m. EDT July 20: Nearly two decades ago, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a warning about boats with overhead canopies like the one that sank Thursday on Table Rock Lake after a deadly accident claimed 13 lives in Arkansas, according to the Kansas City Star.
The Miss Majestic duck boat was carrying 21 passengers when it sank in 1999 in Lake Hamilton, the Star reported. Authorities found seven dead passengers trapped inside the boat when they recovered it, four of which were pinned to the underside of the canopy, according to the Star.
"Contributing to the high loss of life was a continuous canopy roof that entrapped passengers within the sinking vehicle," NTSB officials said in an accident report.
Authorities continued searching Friday for four people who are presumed dead after Thursday's accident in southwest Missouri. Officials said 13 other people have been confirmed dead in the incident.
Update 10:25 a.m. EDT July 20: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said divers are going back in the water Friday in search of four people who remain missing and are presumed dead after Thursday's duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake.
Rader said the search had shifted to "recovery mode for the bodies that are still missing," at a news conference Friday morning.
"It's been a long night," Rader said. "It's been a very trying night."
Rader said the driver of the Ride the Ducks boat died but that the captain survived.
Update 10:05 a.m. EDT July 20: Authorities are expected to provide an update on the investigation into Thursday's deadly duck boat accident in Missouri at a news conference Friday.
Update 9:55 a.m. EDT July 20: President Donald Trump shared sympathies Friday to the families and friends of the people involved in Thursday's deadly duck boat accident in southwest Missouri.
"Such a tragedy, such a great loss," the president wrote Friday in a tweet. "May God be with you all!"
Update 8:15 a.m. EDT July 20: Officials with the State Highway Patrol said Friday that two more bodies have been found after Thursday's duck boat accident in southwest Missouri, bringing the death toll to 13.
State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace said four other people remained missing.
Original report: Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said 14 people were taken to hospitals after the incident. Seven were being treated early Friday, he said.
The boat capsized after a strong line of thunderstorms moved through the area around 7 p.m. Thursday. Rader said weather "was a factor" in the incident.
Authorities said the boat had 31 people on board, including children, when it capsized.
The boat had life jackets on board, according to CNN. The news network reported that other boats on the water docked before the bad weather hit.
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate and are asking anyone who witnessed the accident to come forward.
A dive team and rescue officials worked through the night to find survivors.
They ended the search around 11 p.m., according to KY3.
Emergency responders set up a staging area overnight on the lakeshore near the Showboat Branson Belle, local media reported, although the Belle was not involved in the accident.
Branson officials opened an emergency shelter inside city hall for the victims.
National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7 p.m. Thursday at Branson Airport.
"There's nothing to slow down winds in an open area," he said.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is watching the developments.
DUKW, known as duck boats, are six-wheel-drive amphibious vehicles that were used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War.
Since then, duck boat tours have become popular and are offered on lakes and rivers around the United States, including Missouri, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Alabama.
Ripley Entertainment acquired the Ride The Ducks in Branson in late 2017 from Ride the Ducks International, a subsidiary of Norcross, Georgia-based Herschend Family Entertainment Corp.
Ride the Ducks International manufactures amphibious vehicles and licenses them for tours at affiliates. It also operates duck tours at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. The company formerly operated tours in several other cities, including Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia. But in recent years it ended operations following deadly accidents.
In 2015, a Ride the Ducks tour bus collided with a charter bus carrying student on the Aurora bridge in Seattle.
Five students were killed and several others injured.
The Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.
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