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Duck Boat Sinks in Missouri Lake Killing 17 People

A duck boat carrying 31 people sank in a storm while they were on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, Thursday evening, July 19.

The boat capsized then sunk to the bottom of the lake, killing 17 people on board, reportedly even small children. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating whether life jackets were on board and used.

Investigators also are looking into whether warnings about the weather were ignored and whether the boat should have been out at all. The U.S. Coast Guard also was helping in the rescue efforts.

The Ride the Ducks Branson tragedy is reported to be the deadliest tourist-related incident in years, with people aged 1 to 70 who perished. Among those who died are the driver of the boat; the captain reportedly survived and was taken to a nearby hospital. It is reported that 14 people survived.

Branson reportedly was under a severe thunderstorm warning issued at 6:30 p.m., about a half hour prior to the boat sinking. One man tweeted that he and his wife asked for a refund prior to the boat trip because of the high winds reported up to 60 miles per hour and choppy waves; they did not board the duck boat.

Duck boats are amphibious vessels that travel on both land and water, and are popular among tourists in some cities and have been used since World War II. Following this tragedy, Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced he is considering new regulations of duck boats. Ripley Entertainment Inc., the reported owner of the boats, issued a public statement of condolences to the families involved. 

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