ST.LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV/CNN/AP) -- Seventeen people killed when a duck boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake in Stone County, Missouri, near Branson, Thursday night have been identified by authorities.
Authorities say divers found six bodies Friday morning, bringing the death toll to 17. Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Pace says those who died ranged in age from 1 to 76-years-old. Fourteen passengers survived. Of the seventeen killed, 9 were from one family, according to the governor's office. Two family members survived, including a teen boy. The family is from Indianapolis, said Thomas Griffith, suffragan bishop of Zion Tabernacle Apostolic Faith Church in Indianapolis. A St. Louis couple was also killed.
"Heartfelt, sad occasion, a lot of people involved and a lot of families down here on vacation trying to enjoy time and end up with an incident like this," Gov. Mike Parson said. Parson said it is too early in the investigation to discuss further details but multiple agencies will be working this investigation.
"The state of Missouri will do everything in our power to provide the resources and I ask all Missourians to offer all their thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims," said Gov. Parson.
All of the victims were identified by local authorities on Friday night.
William Asher, 69, St. Louis, Mo.Rosemarie Hamann, 68, St. Louis Mo.Janice Bright, 63, Higginsville, Mo.William Bright, 65, Higginsville, Mo.Angela Coleman, 45, Indianapolis, Ind.Arya Coleman, 1, Indianapolis, Ind.Belinda Coleman, 69, Indianapolis, Ind.Ervin Coleman, 76, Indianapolis, Ind.Evan Coleman, 7, Indianapolis, Ind.Glenn Coleman, 40, Indianapolis, Ind.Horace Coleman, 70, Indianapolis, Ind.Maxwell Coleman, 2, Indianapolis, Ind.Reece Coleman, 9, Indianapolis, Ind.Leslie Dennison, 64, Illinois.Bob Williams, 73, Branson.Lance Smith, 15, Osceola, Ark.Steve Smith, 53, Osceola, Ark.
The final piece of the Table Rock Lake investigation was uncovered Monday morning.
Starting at 9 a.m., the boat company, Ride the Ducks, and the U.S. Coast Guard began an operation to retrieve sunken duck boat Stretch Duck 7. Around 10:15 a.m., the boat was seen at the surface of the water.
The boat sat at the bottom of the lake near Branson, Mo. since Thursday, when the vessel capsized and sank. The accident happened as winds approached hurricane strength.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the duck boat will be brought to a secure facility for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate.
A St. Louis couple was among the 17 killed in the Branson, Missouri duck boat tragedy.
William Asher, 69, of South St. Louis County, and his girlfriend Rose Hamann were on the boat. Their close friends tell News 4 neither survived.
CNN reported that one of those killed was the driver, Robert "Bob" Williams, according to his widow, Judy Williams.
Williams was as a caring man who was friendly to everybody, his widow told CNN.
"He'd talk to anybody. He made an effect on many lives. He would give up his life for somebody," she said in an emotional phone interview Friday. "That's the kind of man Robert was, is."
His grandson, Victor Richardson, told CNN: "He was a God-fearing man; he was very humble. He was the calmest spirit you could ever meet."Bob and Judy Williams were married for more than 30 years and lived in Branson, according to the grandson.
The boat's captain, whose name wasn't immediately released, was among the survivors and was taken to a hospital, said Pattison, president of Ripley Entertainment Inc.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's office confirmed that nine of the 17 victims in the accident were from one family and two other family members survived.
The nine members of the Coleman family who died in the duck boat accident were from Indianapolis, said Thomas Griffith, suffragan bishop of Zion Tabernacle Apostolic Faith Church in Indianapolis. He did not identify them.
Tia Coleman, one of 14 people who survived after the boat went under the water, told KOLR she was shouting but couldn't hear or see anyone else. She had been on board with 10 members of her family, according to KOLR.
"And then I just let go and I started floating. And I was floating up to the top. I felt the water temperature raise to warm," she said. "And then I felt the temperature raise, I jumped up and I saw the big boat that sits out there," she of spotting a riverboat that was docked nearby.
The Indianapolis woman is recuperating in a Missouri hospital and says part of the reason the family went on the excursion was for her 9-year-old son with autism.
Tia Coleman says her son Reece was "the happiest, sweetest boy" and made every day worth living. She says he loved the water and her family took the Ride the Ducks tour because it was something he'd enjoy doing.
Coleman's three children and six other relatives died Thursday.
According to CNN, Steve Smith, a vacationing retired teacher from Osceola, Arkansas, and his teenage son, Lance Smith, died in the lake, said Glenn Oakes, a church elder at the Osceola Church of Christ.
Oakes said he was informed of the deaths by in-laws of the Smiths. Oakes said Smith was a church deacon in their 35-member congregation. "It was a great loss for the church," says Oakes.
Smith's daughter, Loren, reportedly suffered a concussion in the incident, but was rescued and was taken to a local hospital. Pam Smith, the girl's mother, was on shore at the time of the accident.
A grandmother who died after a duck boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake is being called a hero for saving her granddaughter’s life.
Leslie Dennison is among the 17 people who died when a duck boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake Thursday night.
Dennison’s son told News 4 his mother saved her granddaughter’s life when tragedy struck.
“My niece basically was telling my brother that my mother had picked up nice to hand somebody. When she turned around, grandma was gone,” said Brian Dennison.
Brian said his mother loved to come to Branson and had brought her granddaughter with her to treat her to a fun vacation.
A GoFundMe Account was created for the victims.
14-year-old girl described her daring escape from a sinking duck boat in Missouri that left 17 people dead.
Loren Smith’s father Steve Smith, a 53-year-old church deacon, and her 15-year-old brother Lance Smith, both drowned after the boat capsized.
Pam Smith, Loren’s mother, told CBS This Morning, she did not attend the trip because she was going to do a bit of shopping and let her husband take the kids out.
“This is not good Pam,” Pam Smith said, describing the last time she spoke with her husband Steve.
Moments after overhearing her parents’ conversation, the boat began to sink. Read her full story here.
VIDEO CAPTURES ROUGH WATER
People across the world, by now, have seen images of the duck boat before it sank 80 feet below the water. Many have come to Branson to leave balloons, messages and cards for those who drowned.
Jennie Carr's cell phone video was the first to give a glimpse at the horror on the lake.
"I am really sorry and sad that it happened. It should not have happened. They knew the storm was coming. I saw the storm in the sky," said Carr.
Carr shared with News 4 video she recorded while on the Showboat Branson Belle.
"It wasn't a pop-up storm by any means. How are people saying it was a pop-up storm? I don't know. It was on radar. We had a watch. At 6:30 p.m., we got a warning," added Carr.
Carr had never gone on a boat but traveled two hours from Joplin with her husband to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary.
THE VIEW FROM AHEAD
Kourtney Parker, a passenger on a duck boat in front, told CNN that both vessels had delayed their entry into the lake before the storm arrived.
"We got toward the lake ramp, but our propeller quit working. So we had to wait 15 to 20 minutes for a backup bus, which set us back and that (other) boat, because we were in front of them, and they had to wait for us," Parker said.
After the boats entered the water, she said, they "got about halfway across the lake, and then, bam, everything all happened so fast," she said. "We were literally under water a couple times."
"We got out of it and made it to the ramp. And I turned around and watched the other boat nose-dive, and my heart dropped," she said.
FROM THE RIVERBOAT
A man who witnessed the accident while aboard a nearby riverboat says the storm that swamped the smaller vessel appeared suddenly.
Brayden Malaske, of Harrah, Oklahoma, says no one was worried about the weather when he boarded the Showboat Branson Belle with family shortly before the storm hit Thursday night. He says Table Rock Lake seemed calm but that it "suddenly got very dark."
He says he didn't think the duck boats would have a problem despite the weather because they are repurposed military vehicles. He says that when the duck boat capsized, people aboard the riverboat tried to guide the passengers to safety. He says he saw a woman holding on for "dear life" to one of the riverboat's paddles before being rescued.
Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader spoke about various assistance with the boat rescue, including an off-duty deputy who tried to help.
“From my knowledge, a Stone County Deputy was on the Branson Belle doing off-duty security, he was involved in the rescues, along with employees of the Branson Belle that jumped in and joined the rescue, and passengers that were getting on the Branson Belle also assisted with the rescue," said Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader.
Passengers on a nearby boat described the chaos as the winds picked up and the water turned rough.
"Debris was flying everywhere," Allison Lester said in an interview Friday with ABC's "Good Morning America."
Lester's boyfriend, Trent Behr, said they saw a woman in the water and helped to pull her into the boat. He said he was about to start CPR when an EMT arrived and took over.
Rader said the first 911 call came out around 7:10 p.m., reporting that a "Duck" tour boat had sunk near the Branson Belle and that there were people in the water.
LIFE JACKETS NOT NEEDED, PASSENGER SAYS CAPTIAN TOLD THOSE ONBOARD
A survivor of the tourist boat tragedy that killed 17 people, including nine of her relatives, says the captain of the boat told passengers not to bother grabbing life jackets.
Tia Coleman told WXIN-TV in Indianapolis that she and a nephew were among 11 relatives on a duck boat Thursday night on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri. Coleman says she lost "all my children" but she did not say how many.
Coleman says the captain of the boat told passengers, "Don't worry about grabbing the life jackets -- you won't need them."
She says by the time it was clear life jackets were needed, "it was too late."
The Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed that the 31 people aboard weren't wearing life jackets.
SEVERE STORM IN BRANSON
"We did have a severe thunderstorm, not sure if that is the contributing factor," said Southern Stone County Fire Protection spokesman Eric Nielsen. "There is a lot of storm debris."
National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Linderberg said a top wind speed of 63 mph was measured around 7 p.m. Thursday at Branson Airport. The winds were likely stronger over the lake, Linderberg said.
There were reports of damage throughout Stone County, including trees down and structural damage, CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said. The highest wind gust reported in the area was 63 mph.
"My understanding is that we'll be working with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard who regulate our industry," said Jim Pattison, Jr., President of Ripley Entertainment. "But it was almost like a microburst that was that we had boats out there. Was perfectly calm and we had a high speed wind system that just came out of nowhere and out of that storm front and uh....there we were."
BRANSON HELPS VICTIMS
The mayor says residents of and visitors to the southwest Missouri city where a duck boat capsized, killing 17 people, have been donating food, drinks and flowers.
Branson Mayor Karen Best says it's been a "difficult time" since the Ride the Ducks boat sank Thursday night in Table Rock Lake on the outskirts of Branson, but that it's given the tourist community a "chance to step up to help those in pain."
City Hall has become a command center where victims' families and friends can meet with counselors and clergy as well as people who can answer their questions. Red Cross officials are also there to help.
Best says Branson, known as an entertainment center, is usually a city "full of smiles," but that "today we are grieving and crying."
Trisha Ayers was among the mourners who stopped to pay their respects at a parked car that was covered with flowers because it was believed to belong to a dead tourist.?
Ayers said she understood how the boat got caught on the lake because the weather on Thursday evening changed in 10 minutes from sunshine to gale-force winds that bent traffic signs.
"I hope it won't tarnish Branson," she said with tears in her eyes. "About 80 percent of our income comes from tourists. We love them."
President Donald Trump is extending his "deepest sympathies" to those affected by a Missouri boat accident.
In a Friday morning tweet, the president sends his: "deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those involved in the terrible boat accident which just took place in Missouri."
He adds: "Such a tragedy, such a great loss. May God be with you all!"
Ripley Entertainment said it recently acquired the boat company. The boat had a captain and a driver with a commercial license, said Jim Pattison Jr., president of the business's parent company.
"Obviously we shouldn't be out there in severe weather," Pattison said. The company has been in operation for 47 years without any incident such as this, he said.
Asked whether the passengers and two crew members had time to put on life jackets, Pattison said, "We don't know that yet."
"People are supposed to be able to go out for an outing and have a good time. This should never end this way -- there's not much more you can say," he said when asked whether he had a message for relatives of those who were aboard.
There were other boats on the lake that returned to dock safely. Ride The Ducks has closed their business during the investigation.
DUCK BOAT HISTORY
Duck boats, named for their ability to travel on land and in water, have been involved in other deadly incidents in the past. Five college students were killed in 2015 in Seattle when a duck boat collided with a bus, and 13 people died in 1999 when a boat sank near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Safety advocates have sought improvements and complained that too many agencies regulate the boats with varying safety requirements.
The boats were originally designed for the military, specifically to transport troops and supplies in World War II. General Motors developed the duck boat in the early 40s to assist the Allied Forces, including the United States.
After the war ended in 1945, they were later modified for use as sightseeing vehicles.
The U.S. Coast Guard says a duck boat that sank on a Missouri lake in an accident was built during World War II and had passed an inspection in February.
The Kansas City Star reports that the Coast Guard said the craft was the 33-foot-long Stretch Duck 07 built in 1944.
Lt. Tasha Sadowicz is with the Coast Guard's regional office in St. Louis. She says a majority of the 22 Stetch Ducks operating in Missouri were built in 1944 or 1945.
NTSB, Stone County Sheriff's Department, and United States Coast Guard will assist with this investigation.
Former chairman of the NTSB James Hall says duck boats are not designed for recreational use and the boats' design makes them prone to accidents. Hall doesn't believe there's a way to make the vehicles safe, particularly in bad weather conditions.
Steve Paul, the owner of Test Drive Technologies, a private inspection company in St. Louis, wrote an inspection report on the "Ride the Duck" boats in August 2017.He was hired by Ripley Entertainment to do the report as a pre-purchase inspection.
"My first reaction was oh my God, I inspected those boats and we saw the exhaust issue from day 1," said Paul.
When Paul went down to do the inspection last summer, he says the most concerning design flaw he saw was the engine exhaust pipe located at the front of the boat.
Under DOT standards, exhaust pipes need to be behind passengers or above them. Since the exhaust pipes were in front, on Thursday, Paul believes water likely got inside the exhaust pipes.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says she'll examine "legislative solutions" to increase the safety of amphibious vehicles like duck boats after the tragedy in Branson.
The Democratic senator didn't offer specifics after she was briefed Friday evening by officials from the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board. Both agencies are investigating the Thursday evening accident on Table Rock Lake that killed 17 people.
The state's other senator, Republican Roy Blunt, also was being briefed by the agencies. He said he will monitor the investigation closely and called it "a tragedy that never should have happened."
With the weight of the Table Rock tragedy still settling in Missouri Attorney General josh Hawlet spent Saturday in Branson. Hawley met with investigators urging anyone with cell phone footage of the incident to come forward.
"Those videos are quite helpful and we encourage members of the public if you have a video that you still have not shared with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, we strongly encourage you to do that. That would be a tremendous help to patrol officers as they conduct their investigation," said Hawley.
The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.
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