Missouri boat accident kills 17, including nine from one family

Five of the 17 people killed in the incident were under the age of 16, official records show.

    The boat's captain was among 14 survivors, five of whom were injured, of the incident [Charlie Riedel/AP]
    The boat's captain was among 14 survivors, five of whom were injured, of the incident [Charlie Riedel/AP]

    Nine relatives were among 17 people killed when a boat carrying tourists sank during a storm earlier this week in the US state of Missouri, according to officials.

    Officials said on Friday that the nine family members from Indiana, as well as a father and son from Arkansas, were among those who died when a vessel carrying 31 people went down the evening before in Table Rock Lake, near the town of Branson.

    The 17 victims were aged between one and 76 and came from four US states, official records show.

    Five of those who died were under the age of 16.

    'I lost all my children. I lost my husband'

    Tia Coleman, a surviving relative of the nine family members who died, told a local news station that the captain of the boat told the passengers earlier in their trip that they "won't need" life jackets. 

    "The captain told us 'Don't worry about grabbing the life jackets, you won't need them,' so nobody grabbed them because we listened to the captain and he told us to stay seated," Coleman told Fox59, adding that she and a nephew were the only survivors among 11 relatives on board the boat.

    "However in doing that, when it was time to grab them, it was too late and I believe that a lot of people could have been spared," she said.

    "I lost all of my children. I lost my husband. I lost my mother-in-law and my father-in-law," along with other relatives, she added. 

    The boat's captain was among 14 survivors, five of whom were injured.

    Ongoing investigation

    The National Transportation Safety Board and US Coast Guard are investigating the boat's sinking, which occurred around the time local weather warnings were issued due to powerful thunderstorms rolling through the area.

    Video footage captured from the lakeshore showed two amphibious vessels, known as duck boats for their ability to operate on land and water, struggling to move through the waves. One of the boats later made it safely to shore.

    Jim Pattison, president of Ripley Entertainment, which owns the Branson Ride The Ducks tour company, said the strength of the storm was unexpected, but the duck boat should not have been in the lake.

    "It shouldn't have been in the water if what happened, happened," Pattison told the CBS This Morning show.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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