Video has emerged from a neighboring boat that shows the Branson ‘Ride the Ducks’ duck boat as it slowly became overcome by rough lake water and started to sink. You can watch the video (and several others to emerge from the scene) below, but be aware that they are graphic and troubling because of the tragic moments they capture.
Nine members of the same family died in the tragedy. They have been named as the Coleman family of Indianapolis, Indiana, and you can read more about them here. Here’s how you can donation to victims’ funds.
Robert “Bob” Williams was the first victim identified in the “Ride the Ducks” tragedy. According to CNN, Williams was the driver of the boat. He was 73-years-old. You can read tributes to the victims here. They also include a heroic grandmother credited with saving her granddaughter and a couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary.
Here is the full list of victims:
The boat ultimately capsized and sank after being lashed by water, with 31 people on board, including children, in Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. Tragically, 17 people have died, some of them children. Into the darkness, the divers worked, looking for missing people. However, by the next morning, all victims were accounted for.
The dead range in age from 1 to more than 70. The boat was one of two trying to return to shore when the tragedy occurred. The owner, Jim Patterson, told CNN the waters were calm when the duck went out, and the storm hit as it came back. “We’re absolutely devastated,” he said.
Here’s what you need to know:
The First Video Shows Two Duck Boats Struggling in the Water Before One Slowly Starts to Sink
Two videos emerged on Facebook that were taken by a person in another boat. “We are at Branson and on the showboat! A storm came in as we got on and there was 2 ducks that you ride out there and 1 went under. Not sure if everyone on it is ok,” wrote the woman who posted them on Facebook, Jennie Phillips-Hudson Carr.
Here’s a shorter look at the first video on YouTube:
Some comment thread writers criticized the woman for posting the videos and some said people on the other boat should have done more to help the people on the duck. Others just offered prayers for the victims, with one woman writing, “😥 Prayers for them all and their families!! May God comfort them!!! My heart goes out to the families and the folks who saw this. For they will never forget this!!”
Jennie Carr, who filmed the videos, spoke out on the Today Show:
The casualty count grew throughout the night.
“We have eight confirmed fatalities,” the Stone County sheriff said in a news conference, adding that the victims perished from drowning. However, the casualty figure then climbed to 17. “This is going to be an all night and into tomorrow, we’re still going to be working on this,” the sheriff said.
One dive team was in the water as the sheriff spoke late in the evening hours of July 19, 2018, and another dive team was on the way. “I believe it was caused by the weather,” the sheriff added of the tragedy. “It capsized and sank…The duck is still in the water… it sank.”
According to CNN, Ripley Entertainment, “the parent company of Ride the Ducks Branson, said it recently acquired the vessel involved in the incident.” Winds gusted up to 63 miles per hour, CNN reported.
The company posted a statement on its website that read: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at Ride The Ducks Branson. This incident has deeply affected all of us. Words cannot convey how profoundly our hearts are breaking. We will continue to do all we can to assist the families who were involved and the authorities as they continue with the search and rescue. The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority. Ride the Ducks will be closed for business while we support the investigation, and to allow time to grieve for the families and the community. Thank you for your support, and we ask that your thoughts and prayers be with the families during this time.”
The Second Video Captures Some of the Rescue Efforts, as Someone Frantically Calls for Rope
The second video, which you can watch above, is short, and the tragedy is captured through the voices of people frantically looking for rope to help the people on the submerged duck.
A video also emerged from another duck boat in the tumultuous waters:
There was a sheriff’s deputy on a nearby boat as security who was immediately in the water rescuing people, the sheriff said. “It’s going to be a challenging night,” he added. Earlier in the evening, he said it remained a rescue and recovery mission. The search was called off by midnight.
This video compilation also emerged:
The boat was reportedly underwater and couldn’t be seen from the surface.
People on the nearby Branson Belle helped with the rescue, although the Branson Belle is not the boat that sank.
The website for Ride the Ducks reads, “Ride through the scenic Ozarks on our amphibian Duck that goes right from land into the river. Climb to the top of the Mountain, discover the history behind some of America’s unique military vehicles then cruise Table Rock Lake. Quack along with the captain and the music aboard this 70-minute Ozark adventure.”