The death toll has reached 17 from a tourist boat that sank in Table Rock Lake Thursday evening. Everyone is accounted for.
Missouri Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace confirmed that four more bodies had been recovered Friday morning, bringing the number of dead to 17.Seventeen of the 31 passengers on the amphibious vehicle known as a Duck, have been accounted for.
The Stone County Sheriff confirmed that at least 11 people are dead after an amphibious boat attraction sank in Table Rock Lake Thursday with several people on board.
According to Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader, at approximately 7 p.m., a Branson tour vehicle that carries passengers on land and in the water, turned over in Table Rock Lake near the vicinity of the Showboat Branson Belle and sunk.
As of 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Rader said at least 11 people died. At least five were still missing. A search and rescue operation had been called off for the night. He said there were 31 people on the vehicle when it sank.
On its Facebook site, Southern Stone County Fire Protection District is referring to the event as a "mass casualty incident."
Rader said seven people also were taken to a hospital.
He confirmed there were children on the boat, but not whether any of them were among the deceased.
Rader said he believes the incident was storm-related.
According to a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, a heavy storm reached Stone and Taney counties at 6:30 p.m. and reached Table Rock Dam at about 7 p.m. The incident occurred near Table Rock Dam, close to Stone County's border with Taney County. The service had predicted wind gusts of 60-70 mph, but a meteorologist could not immediately confirm how strong the winds had gotten.
The incident happened near where the vehicles enter and exit the water.
Rader said a sheriff's deputy, who was working off-duty security at the Showboat Branson Belle, helped rescue some of the Duck passengers.
The National Weather Service had predicted wind gusts of 60-70 mph.
At about 10:15 p.m. Thursday, CoxHealth reported that Cox Medical Center Branson was treating eight patients, two of them in critical condition. About 45 minutes earlier, the hospital system reported that three of their patients were under 18, but all of their injuries were minor.
CoxHealth also reported that the American Red Cross had arrived at Cox Medical Center Branson to assist families of the tragedy.
Branson City Hall was also open for those with missing family members. City Communications Manager Melody Pettit sent out the following statement: "The City of Branson has opened City Hall for some of the families involved in the boat incident on Table Rock Lake. Concerned family members can call (417) 337-8515. We have people standing by to help. Please be patient with us during this difficult time. Thank you."
The Branson Tri-Lakes News will have more information as it becomes available.