1. ITV Report

Death toll at 17 after bodies found in Missouri lake following tourist boat tragedy

The boat got into trouble on choppy waters. Photo: Facebook

A one-year-old baby is among 17 people who have died after a boat carrying tourists on a Missouri lake capsized and sank, police said.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said seven others were taken to hospital after a Ride the Ducks boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Branson.

Another seven people survived the capsize and did not require hospital treatment.

Four bodies, which had been missing since the tourist boat capsized, were found after search efforts, which were halted overnight, resumed the following day, raising the death toll from 13 to 17, police said.

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A spokeswoman for Cox Medical Centre 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.

Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said the incident had been caused by the weather. Credit: AP

Mr Rader said stormy weather is believed to have caused the capsizing.

Another duck boat made it safely back to shore.

Steve Lindenberg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Springfield, Missouri, said the agency issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Branson area on Thursday evening, and winds reached speeds of more than 60mph.

Rescue efforts are underway at Table Rock Lake. Credit: EBU

“It’s a warning telling people to take shelter,” he said.

Mr Rader said an off-duty police officer working security for the boat company helped rescue people after the accident.

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Dive teams from a number of law enforcement agencies were assisting in the effort, but the sheriff said the divers had ended their search for the night.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that investigators will arrive on Friday morning.

Ride the Ducks uses amphibious vehicles to take tourists around the United States on water and land (file photo). Credit: AP

Suzanne Smagala, of Ripley Entertainment, which owns Ride the Ducks in Branson, said the company was assisting authorities with the rescue effort. She added this was the Branson tour’s first accident in more than 40 years of operation.

Branson is about 200 miles south east of Kansas City and is a popular vacation spot for families and other tourists looking for entertainment ranging from theme parks to live music.

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Missouri Governor Mike Parson told reporters at a press conference Friday that emergency services will continue to search for the missing and thanked all involved in the search and rescue effort.

Duck boats, known for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. They include one in 2015 in Seattle in which five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus, and one in 1999 that left 13 dead after the boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Following the fatal crash 2015 there were calls to have the amphibious boats banned, however, as the boats have long been tourist attractions for sightseers around the US, the accident instead forced safety improvements to be made.

In 2015 in Seattle in which five college students were killed when a boat collided with a bus. Credit: AP

Safety advocates have sought improvements to the boats since the Arkansas incident. Critics argued that part of the problem is numerous agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.

Duck boats were originally used by the US military in the Second World War to transport troops and supplies, and were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.