A spokeswoman for Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said nine of the 17 people who died in a duck boat accident in southern Missouri were of the same family.
The accident occurred at Table Rock Lake, where the crowded duck boat capsized and sank in fierce winds Thursday night. Authorities said divers found four more bodies, bringing the death toll to 17.
Thirteen bodies were recovered early. The Ride the Ducks boat driver died, but the captain survived, according to the Stone Dog Rader County Sheriff.
There were 29 passengers and two crew members on board at that time. State police officials said 14 people survived, including seven who were injured when the boat fell. Cox Medical Center received seven patients, two of whom were in critical condition.
According to Thomas Griffiths, Bishop of Zion’s Apostolic Tabernacle of Faith in Indianapolis, the nine members were from Indianapolis. Griffiths did not recognize her. “Doctors are confident” of their long-term prognosis, says Cox Medical Center spokeswoman Brandy Clifton.
The names of the dead were not immediately revealed.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to arrive at the site on Friday. Meanwhile, the boat involved in the tragedy sank 40 feet (12 meters) out of the water and then rolled on its wheels into an area 80 feet (25 meters) deeper from the water.
Authorities initially said it would be lifted, but Pace says it will take several days to get the equipment ready. He says investigators “want to preserve the evidence as best they can.”
Passengers on a nearby boat described the chaos as the wind rose and the water turned rough.
“Debris was flying everywhere,” said Alison Lister.
Lester’s friend, Trent Burr, said they saw a woman in the water and helped drag her into the boat. He said he was about to start CPR when EMT arrived and took over the job.
Bryden Malaski, from Hara, Oklahoma, rode a replica of a 19th-century paddle wheel known as Branson Bell on the same lake just before a storm hit.
At that time, he said, the waters were calm, and no one worried about the weather.
“But suddenly it became very dark,” he remembers.
In a short video that Malaske captured from the pier, the duck boat can be seen plunging across the choppy, wind-turbulent lake, only water from its windows. The dark rolling waves crash onto their front end. The footage ends before the boat capsizes.
Later, people on a Malaski boat saw a duck boat “hanging on dear life” on a belle’s paddle wheel, he said.
Tia told Coleman that she and her nephew were among 11 relatives on the duck boat. Coleman says she lost “all of my children,” but did not say how many there were. She says the captain of the boat told the passengers, “Don’t worry about taking out life jackets – you won’t need them.”
By the time it became clear that life jackets were needed, Coleman says, “it was too late”.