Tragedy at Table Rock: 17 dead after Table Rock Lake boat capsizes

Posted at 8:22 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 17:30:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seventeen people are dead, some of whom are children, after a Duck boat capsized on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. 

The Stone County Sheriff said late Friday morning divers had recovered the four remaining missing people from the water. Divers had recovered two more earlier. Authorities say the ages of those dead range from 1-70 years old.

NBC affiliate KY3 reports the incident happened around 7 p.m. Thursday as severe thunderstorms moved into the area. Officials believe strong winds played a role in the incident. 

The Stone County Sheriff's Office said at 7:09 p.m. the first 911 call came in reporting a "Duck" tour boat had sunk. It was reported people were in the water. Multiple agencies responded to the scene. 

The Stone County Sheriff's Office said there were 29 passengers and 2 crew members on the boat. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader told KY3 some passengers were children.

As of Friday morning, 17 people died and 14 survived, some of whom were injured.

Seven people were transported to a local hospital; one person had severe injuries but is expected to recover.

Witness video shows the boat being rocked hard by waves in the moments before the crash.

Two Duck boats were in the water when winds picked up. Both headed towards land but only one was able to make it back. Rader said life jackets were on board at the time.

An off-duty Stone County Sheriff's deputy was on the Branson Belle at the time of the crash and helped rescue people. 

The Stone County Sheriff's Office said the Western Taney County Fire dive team worked until 11:30 p.m. searching the waters. The Missouri Highway Patrol dive team took over water recovery Friday morning. 

The sheriff's office said Branson City Hall is open for anyone that is missing family members or people can call 417-337-8515 for information on their loved ones. 

Anyone who may have video of the incident is asked to contact the Stone County Sheriff's Department. 

Officials held a news conference at 9 a.m. Friday in the Branson Belle parking lot. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson joined emergency response officials at the briefing.

By late afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was in Branson and meetings with officials for updates.