Some time after a duck boat on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, capsized the Stone County Sheriff confirmed that people had died. People in the area offered their condolences by putting single stems of flowers on the windshields of cars in the parking lot.
In many instances where there is a mass casualty event, people will often create makeshift memorials in an effort to honor the deceased. In this case, the cars in the parking lot served as a memorial. A single flower was placed on the windshield of each car in a touching, emotional tribute to those who experienced Thursday night’s tragedy.
The duck boat capsized after taking in water from high waves. The boat was carrying 31 people when a storm rolled into the area, causing very rough waters and high waves. The waves crashed into the boat from all angles, and the vessel quickly began taking on water. Within a few minutes, the duck boat began to sink.
People in the area describe the storm as being intense.
“Our son and my husband was down there at our docks and they said boats were coming up head level because of the waves — it was crazy. It was like the ocean out there. We’ve been here 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. I looked out the window and everything was fine. Then it turned dark and the wind kicked up like I’ve never seen before. I thought it was tornadic winds,” Lakeside Resort Restaurant and General Store co-owner, Stephanie Kettells, told the Springfield News-Leader.
A fisherman who had been out on his boat with his daughter also spoke to the outlet about the crazy weather.
“By the time we got out of the cove, it had already got dark up there. I looked up to the north and I said ‘What is that there?’ It looked like dust but it was white. It was like a nest,” Nixa resident Brandon Hite told the Springfield News-Leader.
“”My whole goal was to keep the nose of the boat (pointed) in the wind because if I went sideways, we would have capsized. It was definitely scary,” Hite added.
Rescue efforts were underway shortly after the first reports of trouble on Table Rock Lake. Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader has since confirmed that 17 people have died in this tragedy. Rader believes that all 17 victims died by drowning. All of the passengers on the boat have been accounted for.